Day Trip: Industry City, Sunset Park, Brooklyn

11am head to Industry City (“IC”) located on 36th street and 4th avenue.  Getting there was a breeze:  I took a short 30 min Uber ride from Midtown because of time constraints and inclement weather.

Industry City comprises roughly 40 acres (16 ha) of the former Bush Terminal, including 16 original buildings bounded by 33rd street, 42nd street, 1st avenue and 3rd avenues (Gowanus Expressway) and totals approx. 6.5MM sq ft.  It has aprox. 150 elevators!

The Complex was purchased by Jamestown (of Chelsea Market fame) and other partners in 2013.  Since then they begun an extensive capital renovation program that included the investment of $150MM to bring the building back to their prime and make them appealing to 21st century users in varying fields such as sports, medicine, retailers, designers, science, food, technology and many more.

The most prominent buildings are 5-U shaped buildings of aprox 75 foot wide bays with windows facing a courtyard and the street and can be seen from the Gowanus Expressway.  The interiors typically have columns every 25 feet, large operable perimeter windows of 5+feet tall and smoothed concrete floors.  Building provides heat via old fashion steam pipes and tenants can put multi-split systems to satisfy their cooling needs.

The office space feels like a turn of the century Manhattan warehouse Except for the fact that the space offers amazing natural light due to its proximity to windows.  This was true even on the dreary day of my visit.  Also, operable windows are something you cant find anymore and is a plus on many spring and fall days when the temperature is just right.  And lets not forget about the views of Manhattan, Staten Island and other parts of Brooklyn.

The long U-shaped Buildings are have each been upgraded to include a unique courtyard while all of them have been interconnected with what Jamestown now calls Innovation Alley.  Innovation alley effectively cuts across the middle of each U-Shaped building and interconnects them with a well defined pathway what weaves inside the buildings.  As one walks through Innovation Alley one can see different stores making everything from chocolate to ice cream, to a gym and a shared office space.  The idea is to have a place where people interact, where ideas are exchanges and get the creative juices flowing.

Some of the Buildings include street level retail spaces such as the large Design Within Reach store.  It also includes a food court very similar to the one in Chelsea Market with some names you might recognize from Manhattan.  Industry City provided jobs for 1,000 people when Jamestown purchased the site.  Jamestown projects this to increase to 12,000 when the buildings are fully leased.

Two major tenants include the Brooklyn Nets and Hospital for Special Surgery.  The Nets will be the team’s training facility as well as a venue for parties and other team-related uses.

While this is an IMPRESSIVE project it is nowhere near completion and signs are evident in the empty office, food  and retail spaces; in the unfinished courtyards.  While current uses include arts, science, sports, etc. I believe they should attract a University to make it a place that attracts and keeps young professionals within the community.  Moreover, if Jamestown is correct and there will be 12,000 employees then a 4-star hotel with approx 150 rooms might be a good user.

A key problem they are faced with relates to zoning.  These buildings are zoned M1 and are therefore destined only for manufacturing use.  Any attempts to bring in office users would trigger a change of use and a corresponding upgrade of the complex to accomodate office users-a costly and very difficult and time consuming task!  I was told that Jamestown has contacted NYC government officials to rezone the area.

My biggest dissapointment was that almost every food vendor was closed (I visited on a Saturday) so I couldn’t eat anything there.  So at 230PM i waled 2 blocks and took the N subway at 36th street and 4th avenue toward Grand Central Station.  I was impressed by the speed of this train (first stop is Atlantic Terminal!). I connected with the 4-5 and got off at Grand Central Station.  The entire trip took only 28 minutes.

I decided to try the newly opened Great Northern Food Hall, Claus Meyer’s first venture in the United States (of Noma of Denmark fame also at the forefront of the New Nordic Cuisine Movement.  This Scandinavian cuisine restaurant is located in the Vanderbilt hall closest to 42nd street.

It has a feel of a food court with different restaurants but instead there is a station for cooked hot food, drinks, sandwiches, coffee and danish and salads; all from the same owner.

I tried the porridge mixed with lobster, roast butternut squash and fennel and a beer (forgot to write down the name! :{(    The porridge was warm and tasty and it felt like a perfect thing to eat for a light and healthy brunch.  I would eat this every day!  Beers are obscure names I never heard of before and can be rated a 7 out of 10 points.  Expresso coffee was deliicious.

I was home by 3pm (with a bag of open-faced sandwiches for the family to enjoy).

(1) Wikipedia


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