New York State’s largest privately-held manufacturing property, Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, has recently gotten a big boost from investors, which may just be the catalyst the property needed after previously struggling to find long-term leases. These sixteen buildings make up six million square feet, more than twice the size of the Empire State Building. It is home to the Industry City Distillery, famous for their line of vodkas manufactured on-site and various art and photography studios.
Jon Brooks of Crosstown Realty is a commercial real estate agent that was put in charge of 60,000 square feet within Industry City, which he found to be very useful toward serving the music market. He envisioned this section of Sunset Park as a “music district” as his first few deals in 2008 went to bands looking for a space. He admits, “Musicians always get left out because they make noise, they need expensive soundproofing, they want to work at all hours. The problem is that the modern-day industrial tenant no longer wants to be on those upper floors because they don’t want to share a freight elevator. So Industry City has been having trouble leasing these spaces – while all the other real estate in Brooklyn is skyrocketing, their prices were dropping.”
Jamestown Properties, owner of Chelsea Market, is possibly the most well known of the new investors for the Industry City complex. Chief operating officer Michael Phillips speaks on his high hopes for this property: “There’s a variety of different uses, from food manufacturing to clothing to technology to media that all want to come together and be near each other where their creativity feeds off of one another in this kind of space.” The company has just recruited Andrew Kimball, formerly an executive behind development of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, likely to use his expertise on the Industry City projects to come.
In addition to Jamestown Properties, real estate financiers Angelo Gordon and Belvedere Capital joined in to pen the undisclosed deal for a stake in the property, which suffered extensive damage due to Hurricane Sandy reportedly requiring “hundreds of millions of dollars” to repair. Approximately 60% of the complex is currently occupied, mostly low-rent storage space. Jamestown Properties calls the endeavor “a generational investment” that aims to transform the shores of Sunset Park. As these investments seem to push the property and the neighborhood in the right direction, Phillips humbly admits, “This will be a marathon, not a sprint.”