The owners of Industry City in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park suffered a setback last year when one progress-hating City Council member torpedoed a rezoning that would have allowed a few more buildings to rise at the 35-acre site.

But owners Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon Co. shrugged off the disrespect, at least for now (the rezoning never came to a  vote but was withdrawn by the developers when they saw it would fail).

Courtyard 5/6 at Industry City

“We’re looking forward, not backward,” said Industry City Chief Executive Andrew Kimball. He preferred to focus on the enormous strides the 16-building, 6-million-square-foot waterfront complex has made since it opened in 2013.

Industry City has leased an impressive 800,000 square feet of space — office, light manufacturing, studio and retail — since March of 2020, the pandemic’s local low point.

Deals with scores of new tenants brought the complex to more than 80 percent leased. Recent and new arrivals include 60,000 square feet for Porsche and Volvo with have showrooms as well as service centers, West Elm,  a longtime tenant that added a 10,000-square-foot retail store, and production company The Garage, which specializes in commercials for brands such as Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and Cadillac.

Kimball said, “It’s truly astonishing. Of 4 million square feet we’ve leased since 2013, the 800,000 in the past 18 months are the most we did in any 18-month period. And this was during the global pandemic.”

He attributed the success partly to $450 million the partners invested in new infrastructure for historic, century-old buildings at site, a former shipping and heavy-manufacturing center. Improvements included creation of five acres of open-air public space. 

Opening Party at Union Square Hospitality Group

Another factor is that, “we’re finding that people want their office next to their industrial and manufacturing spaces,” Kimball said. For example, Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group leases 20,000 square feet of offices within a 70,000-square-foot commissary facility, all in a single building.

Tenants have mushroomed from 150 in 2013 to 575 today. “Of those, 400 have less than 2,500 square feet. We’re an extraordinary incubator for small businesses,” Kimball said. Some 9,000 people now work at the complex compared with 2,100 in 2013.

Industry City’s success parallels that of Brooklyn’s other great industrial park, the Brooklyn Navy Yard. But unlike the Navy Yard, which is city-owned and has enjoyed subsidies, Industry City is entirely privately owned and funded and is more public-friendly.

Industry City Ice Rink

Kimball’s optimism extends to the new mayoral administration. “I feel very good about it,” he said. “I’ve worked with [former Brooklyn borough president] Eric Adams for many years, both at the Navy Yard and at Industry City,” he said. Kimball previously was CEO of the Navy Yard Development Corp.

“He cares deeply about economic development,” Kimball added. I’m hopeful that Eric really sees the value of this kind of jobs creation.”

*This is an article from New York Post published on December 12, 2021; See the original article here.

Learn more about leasing space at IC here.

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