Rendering of the fully transformed space by Marvel Architects. Courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office. 

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of our favorite spots in the city, we’ve been covering its history, visiting its rooftop vineyard and abandoned spaces, and eagerly learning about its future. Yesterday, the Navy Yard opened Building 77 to the public. The massive, 1 million-square-foot building has been turned from a veritable concrete warehouse to an active manufacturing facility. 

Courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office

Image by John Bartelstone Photography, courtesy of NYC  Mayor’s Office

What was formerly a World War II-era storage facility built in 1942, has undergone a $185 million restoration, wherein 3 million pounds of concrete was removed and replaced with 50,000 square feet of windows. As a part of the US Navy’s wartime mobilization, the building offered less than 100 jobs with concrete standing in as windows for the first 11 floors. As it went relatively unused for quite sometime, the city saw an opportunity to create a much needed manufacturing facility.

As the largest building in the Navy Yard, the rehabilitation of this space means the creation of 17,000 good-paying jobs by 2020. As of opening day, the building is 85% occupied by firms such as SITU, an architecture and fabrication firm, which speaks volumes about how much manufacturing space the city was lacking. Currently, the Yard maintains its position as one of the country’s leading urban manufacturing centers, with 400 companies employing more than 7,000 New Yorkers.

Interior rendering of the ground floor by Marvel Architects. Courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office.

As part of Mayor de Blasio’s New York Works plan, the opening of Building 77 will add significantly to the plan that seeks to add 100,000 good-paying industrial and manufacturing jobs. “As a major driver of quality middle-class jobs, investing in and expanding manufacturing space is key to growing and diversifying our economy and boosting wages. As we re-open this historic building we re-imagine New York’s future,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press release.

Interior rendering of the ground floor by Marvel Architects. Courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office.

The enormous facility includes a Manufacturing Hub on its 60,000-square-foot ground floor that will be the central gathering point for the Navy Yard’s employees, businesses, and guests with food purveyors and retail space. According to Curbed NY, joining Building 77 as an anchor tenant will be the famed bialys and bagels institution, Russ & Daughters.

With a small retail space on the ground floor, Russ & Daughters will be creating its delicacies in a larger hub space in the building to ship out to its Manhattan and national satellites. Other food purveyors joining them include Jalapa Jar, Rustik Tavern, and Transmitter Brewery with a focus not on being a food hall, but as a comfortable place for people to work.

What’s more, in a partnership with the Department of Education, the nonprofit running the Navy Yard will be providing vocational training for students from eight nearby high schools. As technology advances, it is important to grasp the most applicable skills in order to stay competitive in the job market. This partnership will provide not only graduating students with important skills, explains Curbed, “he nonprofit’s community outreach also extends to groups that are traditionally disenfranchised in the job market, like ex-offenders.”

With the financial backing of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, Mayoral City Capital, with additional funds from the City Council and Brooklyn Borough President, the city has committed fully to creating a fully functioning manufacturing hub in New York City. While the full potential of Building 77 has yet to be realized, it is staying a strong course towards success.

For some history, check out the The Top 10 Secrets of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and read about 5 Highlights of the Brooklyn Strand Community Vision