Sitting on 300 acres in Brooklyn, NY along the East River between the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was once the premier shipyard of the U.S. Navy serving as a site to build frigates in the early 1800s and battleships in the 1940s.
During its peak in World War II, the Navy Yard employed 70,000 workers. Closed by the federal government in 1966 and sold to New York City the next year, the Navy Yard languished and employment dropped to a low of approximately one thousand jobs in the late 1970s and into the early 1980s.
Now, over thirty years later, the Navy Yard is experiencing a renaissance. Under the leadership of nonprofit Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC), along with significant support from the City of New York, as well as State and Federal agencies, the Navy Yard has been transformed into an industrial park that serves as a model for urban manufacturing. Currently, the Navy Yard has 40 buildings representing 4.5 million leasable square feet. There are 6,400 employees across 300 businesses including design, filmmaking, and manufacturing with an emphasis on innovation and sustainability.
Goldman Sachs, through its Urban Investment Group (UIG), has contributed to this revival by helping finance the renovation of Building 128, a 215,000 square foot building in the heart of the Navy Yard. UIG helped BNYDC identify new sources of capital, invested its own capital in the project, and brought together the public and private parties needed to make the project work. Helping the BNYDC navigate the complexity of this type of financing enabled the Navy Yard to continue its growth and expansion.
Building 128: From Aircraft Carrier Mechanics to Green Manufacturing
One of the businesses that will benefit from the renovation of Building 128 hearkens back to the Navy Yard’s military days. Crye Precision designs and manufactures camouflage uniforms and body armor for various branches of the US Military. The development will include 85,000 square feet to be leased out to Crye in order to consolidate its operations at the Navy Yard and expand production.
Building 128 is also in discussions with Macro Sea, a real estate developer, to lease 50,000 square feet to create a hub for innovation, education and entrepreneurship. Macro Sea plans to offer a shared manufacturing, design and work space with rapid prototyping equipment, offices, galleries and a conference center, all of which they will lease out to design firms, architects, entrepreneurs and educational institutions.
Urban Industrial Jobs
At the heart of Building 128’s renovation is the creation of good jobs, training and support for local residents of Brooklyn. More than 370 permanent jobs are expected to be added as a result of the new space.
BNYDC has been a pioneer in job creation. The nonprofit has operated an Employment Center at Building 92 for more than 15 years, finding jobs for local residents within the businesses that occupy the Navy Yard. BNYDC has placed nearly 2,000 New Yorkers in jobs since 1999—with many coming from the communities immediately adjacent to the Navy Yard.
The collaboration among small- and medium-sized businesses, BNYDC, its partners, and Goldman Sachs is helping spur the Navy Yard’s largest expansion since World War II and provides a model for how other cities can develop urban manufacturing and job creation around the country.
Footage of Crye provided by: Creative Director Rob Clark, Executive Producer Lai Ling Jew and Video Director Christopher Farber.
Formed in 2001, Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group (UIG) was the first investment effort by a major investment bank that focused exclusively on urban markets in the United States. Since its inception, UIG has committed more than $2.8 billion to invest in and revitalize underserved urban communities across the nation.