What You Don't Know About Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball
Sunset Park’s 6M SF Industry City continues to fuel the innovation economy. Yesterday, MakerBot opened a 170k SF manufacturing facility for 3D printers. Earlier this month, Time Inc signed a 55k SF lease to house its technology, content solutions and editorial innovation departments, and a second landscaped courtyard is opening in several weeks. Today, we bring you a little more insight into the man behind this unique urban transformation, Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball.
Photo: Andrew with son Eliot in Maine.
Industry City specs: It’s the largest adaptive reuse of an industrial campus in the US and a unique ecosystem of uses, including innovation economy tenants, retailers, academic collaboration and two hotels. The mega-project will be a community of makers, including physical, digital and engineered products, and it will ultimately create 20,000 jobs.
Responsibilities: As CEO, Andrew's leading the development by coordinating Industry City’s leasing, development, marketing, government, community engagement, operational, construction and accounting departments for the "visionary ownership group" of Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon. When he arrived at the project two years ago, Industry City had a skeleton staff but now has robust teams for each department.
His career, in a nutshell: Andrew has had an eclectic career that has been entirely focused on urban transformation. “I grew up in Manhattan in the ‘70s and ‘80s, wondering why there was such decay and poverty in some areas and enormous wealth in others.” He spent eight years at the New York Public Library, managing restoration and redevelopment of many of its 90-odd library facilities, followed by three years trying to bring the Olympic Games to New York City. For another eight years, he was responsible for the transformation of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and he joined Industry City two years ago.
What brought him to Brooklyn: His wife convinced him to give Brooklyn a try for a year. That was 25 years ago, and now he lives in Park Slope. “I would never move back to Manhattan, where I grew up,” he tells us. “Brooklyn is a special place, and this has been a special time of revitalization for the borough. I've been lucky to play a role in bringing back life to massive, long-neglected industrial campuses: the Brooklyn Navy Yard and now Industry City.” (Pictured: Industry City)
What attracted him to real estate: He was fascinated by urban transformation, regeneration of neighborhoods and creating local job opportunities. “What makes me proudest is that we’ve not only tapped into the innovation economy, where making things is again driving the city’s economy, but that the results have been thousands of accessible jobs. Wages are 50% higher than the service sector at the entry level, and many of the people employed only have high school diplomas.”
Education: He attended Manhattan’s Collegiate School, then Hamilton College upstate. The single most important year of his education, however, was when he was a Coro Fellow; the leadership training program gives people who are interested in civic leadership 12 months of experience in the public, private and nonprofit sectors, learning how they all converge. He’s now Chairman of the Board for the The Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs.
First job: Bike messenger on the streets of New York City before the days of bike lanes and helmets. “It was crazy, yet fascinating.”
Job in another life: Principal of a school or coaching a soccer team.
Daily habit: He tries to exercise as much as possible by playing competitive tennis, riding his bike to work and playing soccer and basketball with his two teenage sons.
Mentors: He’s been lucky to have tremendous mentors throughout his career, including former NYPL president and CEO Paul LeClerc, former Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Dan Doctoroff, and former Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp chairman Alan Fishman.
One person he’d like to meet, living or dead: Fiorello La Guardia.
Favorite spot to decompress in Brooklyn: Prospect Park.
Favorite restaurant: Toby’s Public House on Sixth Avenue in South Slope.
Favorite song: Don McLean’s American Pie
Favorite movie: Ronin, with Robert De Niro.
Favorite book: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.
Favorite vacation: Maine’s Penobscot Bay.
Family life: Wife, Sarah Williams, is a social impact investor and adviser; they live in Park Slope with their two sons, Lucas, 16 (a star soccer player), and Eliot, 14 (a star hip-hop dancer).
Favorite hobby: Tennis.
Startling fact: He and Sarah raised chickens for a few years at their Brooklyn home. “We had fresh eggs every day until the raccoons discovered them.”