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Center For Planetary Health Opening 50K SF Lab At Brooklyn Navy Yard

A new life sciences tenant has agreed to open a large lab space on the converted top floor of Brooklyn Navy Yard Building 303, a nine-story office and light manufacturing facility spanning 394K SF.

Mayor Eric Adams and Brooklyn Navy Yard President Lindsay Greene, in purple, on a tour of life sciences companies working out of the Navy Yard's Building 303 life sciences hub.

The Center for Planetary Health, a biotech startup owned by tech incubator Newlab, will move into the full-floor space on a long-term lease, Brooklyn Navy Yard CEO and President Lindsay Greene confirmed to Bisnow during a tour of Building 303 Friday morning with New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

The center, called C4PH, will be the first commercial hub for sustainability-focused biotechnology in the U.S., according to a press release, and will receive a $20M investment from the city's $1B LifeSci initiative.

"The way to create the jobs of the future is by supporting companies solving some of the most pressing challenges of our time, like climate change and carbon emissions," Adams said in a statement. "These companies are not only making our city and planet more sustainable, they are providing career opportunities for working New Yorkers. This is the future, and it's happening right here in New York City."

Adams first teased the agreement during his State of the City speech in January, announcing that a tenant would be arriving at the location. C4PH expects to move into the space in 2025, New York City Economic Development Corp. Chief Strategy Officer Cecilia Kushner told Bisnow. The top floor is zoned for office and light manufacturing and will take between nine and 18 months to set up the labs in the space. 

"It's a big project," Greene said. "It takes time to incubate these businesses and set up the models that work."

It's unclear how much C4PH is paying to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., the not-for-profit that controls the city-owned, 300-acre former military manufacturing hub. 

Its neighbors in the nearby Building 303 — which opened in 2020 and now with just under 8K SF left available — will include manufacturers producing biodegradable textiles, TomTex and Kintra Fibers, and Black-owned cosmetics company Next Step Labs.

New York City has spent the past few years dishing out incentives persuading life sciences companies to choose the Big Apple over larger hubs in Boston, San Francisco and San Diego, including deductions on property taxes and mortgages from the EDC.

"What I think makes New York unique with biotech versus Massachusetts is that it isn't always about curing a disease for people," Greene said. "You can always apply those skills to a lot of things, and that's really what this center and the broader effort and the future of life sciences is about."

The EDC said in June 2021 that it would add more than $500M of funding to the city’s LifeSci initiative, bringing the initiative’s total funding to $1B. Kushner said "a good portion" of the funding has already been allocated.

NYC’s focus on life sciences comes as the tech sector — until recently the darling of the city’s commercial real estate market — adapts to hybrid work and reduces its demands for office space. Twitter put up 200K SF of its Manhattan office space for sublease this week, just a few months after GoogleAmazon and Meta did the same.