Subdivision of Larger Industrial Space Will Address Challenges Faced by Small Industrial Businesses and Provide Right-sized, Affordable Workspace
New York City – The New York City Council and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the first awardee of funding to subsidize the modernization and subdivision of existing industrial space in New York City, an initiative first announced by Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Council Member Diana Reyna in the Speaker’s 2010 State of the City address. Acumen Capital Partners LLC, which owns an approximately 600,000 square foot industrial building at 630 Flushing Ave in Brooklyn (the former headquarters of Pfizer), was awarded $2 million from the City Council Small Manufacturing Investment Fund to subdivide and modernize existing underutilized industrial space at the building. The funding was offered through an RFP issued by NYCEDC in December 2011, which intended to incentivize needed capital improvements and create appropriately-sized and modernized space for small manufacturing and industrial businesses. Small businesses with approximately one to ten employees, which occupy less than 5,000 square feet of space, continue to drive the City’s industrial sector growth, though much of the available industrial space is too large for these users.
Acumen Capital Partners LLC plans to use the $2 million in funding to subdivide approximately 88,000 square feet of large floor plate space into smaller leasable units that could range in size from 100 to 6,000 square feet. For the new spaces, Acumen plans to target companies that have been forced to locate outside of New York City due to the cost of leasing space, existing businesses in the area, start-up companies and new industrial users. The building is currently partially occupied by a wide variety of food and high tech manufacturing tenants, including McClure’s Pickles, Kombucha Brooklyn, Atlas Scientific, People’s Pops, Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, One Lucky Duck, Brooklyn Soda Works, Downtown Cookie Co., and Madecasse Chocolate. Acumen plans to begin renovations in 2013 and complete the project within 12-18 months.
“It’s only fitting that we are transforming the former Pfizer headquarters, one of the last century’s icons of advanced manufacturing, into a space that will house this century’s manufacturing companies,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “Innovative practices like the reuse and modernization of underutilized industrial space will help us continue to diversify our city’s economic engine and create well-paying jobs for New Yorkers. I thank Council Member Diana Reyna for her efforts to ensure that our city’s manufacturing sector continues to grow and Seth Pinsky and EDC for working with the Council to administer the RFP and the fund.”
“Acumen has a long history of creating re-adaptive use for industrial spaces. Their success merits the public investment awarded to them today,” said Council Member Diana Reyna, Chair of the Committee on Small Business. “I look forward to continuing to provide affordable and modernized space for the City’s industrial sector.”
“Through the creation of appropriately-sized, modernized space for small industrial businesses, we will be able to retain and grow the critically important jobs these businesses provide for residents across New York City,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky. “While the industrial sector has faced serious challenges in recent decades, a real opportunity for growth now exists, and initiatives such as this will help us continue to capitalize on these opportunities in the years and decades to come. Thank you to Speaker Quinn and the City Council for their continued partnership with the Bloomberg Administration in supporting the City’s industrial sector and for allocating the funding for this important initiative.”
“We want to thank the City for providing us with the opportunity to reuse this great asset and create appropriately sized spaces for small businesses that are proud to make Brooklyn their home,” said Ashish Dua, Principal of Acumen Capital Partners LLC. “The repositioning of the property has already been successful with over 25 tenants taking occupancy, and the renovations will lead to new homes for over 40 companies.”
The Small Manufacturing Investment Fund is a prime example of the city’s ongoing initiative to drive our industrial sector and stimulate solid economic growth,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “I congratulate Acumen Capital Partners for their well-deserved grant that will go towards renovating their large and underutilized industrial space to smaller and affordable units. This will not only accommodate to the needs of our small businesses, but will go towards generating thousands of new industrial jobs and attract more businesses to start up in NYC.
“This is an exciting moment for manufacturing in Brooklyn,” said Council Member Stephen T. Levin. “Thanks to the leadership and innovative thinking of Speaker Quinn, New York City is quickly positioning itself as a hub for a new generation of industry. I look forward to working with Acumen and Brooklyn’s entrepreneurs to continue to foster a positive environment for small manufacturing companies.”
The RFP to modernize and subdivide existing industrial space remains open, and proposals can still be submitted for potential funding with awards ranging from $1 million to $2 million per project. Respondents to the RFP must indicate how and why the funds are critical to making the project financially viable, in addition to other proposal requirements outlined in the RFP. Awardees will be selected based on factors including, but not limited to: the amount of City subsidy needed per square foot; how quickly the space can be modernized and subdivided; the amount of private investment that the respondent will make in the project; and how many jobs will be supported and created. The next submission deadline is September 11, 2012 and $6 million in funds are available for future awards
The RFP to modernize and subdivide industrial space is one of 22 initiatives announced in June 2011, by Mayor Bloomberg, in partnership with the City Council, that will revitalize, modernize, and preserve up to 9 million square feet of underutilized industrial space, and create and retain up to 30,000 direct and indirect industrial jobs, generate annual payroll earnings of more than $900 million and more than $150 million in City tax revenue. The industrial sector is an integral part of the City’s economy that has faced serious challenges in recent decades, but now offers real opportunities for growth and development.
The initiatives resulted from an inter-agency review of the City’s industrial policies, led by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh and City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden. The review found that while the City’s industrial sector has been declining in line with national trends of 8 percent annually over the past 10 years, there are certain subsectors showing stability and growth. As offshoring costs increase, it is anticipated that industrial activities will continue to grow nationwide. New York City in particular offers unique location-based advantages for industrial activity, including a population of about 8.4 million, access to a large workforce and highly-skilled labor, and one of the nation’s busiest ports based on import volume. The review also found that industrial businesses in the City are challenged by a lack of building stock appropriate for modern industrial uses, higher costs, and difficulty maneuvering City processes. Industrial sectors account for 15 percent of New York City’s overall private employment and more than 23 percent of employment outside of Manhattan, and industrial jobs have a mean wage of $67,000.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.
Acumen Capital Partners LLC is a private company focused on the ownership of real estate investment properties; specializing in the reuse of existing commercial properties in New York City’s outer boroughs. The firm currently holds a portfolio in excess of 1,000,000 square feet primarily located in Williamsburg and Long Island City. Acumen breathes new life into older buildings with environmentally sustainable renovations that attract companies who share a similar corporate philosophy and in turn provide the local area with much needed jobs. The firm recently completed the renovation of the 300,000 square foot SMP Building featuring the country’s largest roof top farm, the one acre Brooklyn Grange. Acumen’s latest project is the redevelopment of the 600,000 square foot former headquarters and manufacturing plant of Pfizer, Inc. The property is being converted from a single tenant to a multi tenant facility and is already home to a wide variety of innovative tenancies in the arts, film, and food industries. For more information please visit our website at www.acumenny.com.