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Making waves at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Nick Myall
Friday 05 Oct 2018

Brooklyn Navy Yard has unveiled a new urban manufacturing master plan which will bring the Yard’s total job count to 30,000 around a development of 5.1m sq ft of vertical manufacturing space

The Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) has released new renderings of its $2.5 billion master plan to create 10,000 additional jobs, which would bring the total number of jobs at the Yard to 30,000. To achieve these goals, the plan comprises development of 5.1 million square feet of vertical manufacturing space unlike any in the country, further solidifying the mission-based nonprofit Yard as a national urban model for sustainable middle-class job creation. At the same time, the plan outlines a series of open space and connectivity improvements aimed at integrating the 300-acre Yard with its surrounding neighborhoods. The plan, developed by WXY architecture + urban design and initially unveiled in January, will guide the next phase of growth for the Navy Yard following the completion of its nearly complete $1 billion current expansion. The current expansion will add 12,000 jobs to Yard’s existing 8,500.

“The Yard is quickly becoming a national model for bringing sustainable manufacturing jobs back to cities, and our master plan lays out a comprehensive vision to bring the campus to its full potential over the coming decades,” said David Ehrenberg, President & CEO of BNYDC. “As a mission-driven nonprofit, we’ve made the development of vertical manufacturing buildings – designed specifically to allow tenants to thrive and grow – the centerpiece of our plan. At the same time, we’ve highlighted ways to better integrate the Yard with our neighbors, including through new waterfront open space, more welcoming entrances and increased transportation options to the Yard. With 300 acres on the Brooklyn waterfront, there’s no excuse for us not to dream big – and inspire other cities to do the same.

“Forward-thinking cities like New York are using urban design to grow districts that support new kinds of jobs in urban industrial and maker settings,” said Adam Lubinsky, WXY Managing Principal, who led the master planning team. “The Brooklyn Navy Yard is leading the way, showing how to create and integrate valuable public space and amenities, multi-modal transit and streets, and state-of-the-art vertical manufacturing buildings, which will boost the Yard’s economic impact.” 

The ambitious plan for the next phase of growth, designed with architecture and planning firm WXY, centers around three development sites within the Yard: Kent, Flushing and Navy. All three sites would include the ground-up development of vertical manufacturing space along with public realm and accessibility improvements. The master plan adheres to the nonprofit Yard’s mission, and proposes a tenant mix similar to the Yard’s current roster. The proposal calls for 75 percent of the 10,000 jobs to be manufacturing jobs, with the remaining quarter comprising creative office and service-oriented jobs.

The three development sites:

1. Kent The plan includes a 2.7 million square foot development of two buildings near Kent Avenue in the northern corner of the Yard. The buildings would rise along an existing manmade inlet, called the Barge Basin Loop, with a waterfront esplanade that provides an opportunity for manufacturing tenants to display products. This development site is currently a vacant lot.

2. Flushing The second development site, which is partially occupied by the Federal government, is located near the center of the Yard’s southern border along Flushing Avenue. It will yield two buildings totaling 1.4 million square feet of predominately manufacturing space adjacent to the recently completed Building 77. The plan for this site envisions space for food manufacturing. There is also the potential to create a publicly accessible flyover walkway to access the NYC Ferry stop slated to open in early 2019 next to the nearly complete Dock 72.

3. Navy The third site would rise on the current NYPD tow pound near the Yard’s Sands Street entrance. Plans for the site comprise two buildings at opposite ends of a publicly-accessible plaza, with ground floor space in the larger of the buildings housing a potential community facing science and engineering museum, and the other featuring classrooms, workforce development space and STEM-oriented youth programs.

Urban Design

The plan also envisions a Navy Yard more integrated within the local community through activation of ground floor space in new development sites, open pedestrian plazas and the Barge Basin Loop waterfront esplanade. Additionally, the plan includes improved wayfinding, lighting and streetscapes.

Finally, the master plan is focused on improved transportation both to and within the Yard by including more bike and car share opportunities and increased Navy Yard shuttle bus capacity. And the plan’s proposed street improvements and truck streamlining aim to make the Yard more pedestrian and cyclist friendly.

Current expansion The Yard’s current expansion has relied largely on the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, which BNYDC has exhausted. 

With the demand for affordable manufacturing space strong – 99 percent of all its available is leased – the Yard felt compelled to consider futureopportunities for growth in its underutilized sections.

The current expansion includes the renovation of Building 77 to provide space to vertically-integrated design and manufacturing companies and a ground-floor food manufacturing center hat will be anchored by Russ & Daughters; the development of Dock 72, a creative office building developed by Rudin Management and Boston Properties opening early next year; Admiral’s Row, which will include a light manufacturing and creative office building developed by Steiner NYC and a Wegmans supermarket; the Green Manufacturing Center, which houses the New Lab; and an expanded Steiner Studios, the largest firm and television production studio outside Hollywood in the United States.

Nick Myall

News editor

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