From Industrial to Office Space – The Brooklyn Navy Yard Revival

A new era for the Brooklyn Navy Yard

A new project is underway at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Rudin family, one of New York’s oldest real estate dynasties, has teamed up with Boston Properties Inc. to develop a new 675,000-square-foot office building on Brooklyn’s waterfront.

Designed by S9 Architecture, the new office development dubbed Dock 72 will be located on a finger of land near the working dry docks on the East River. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, the 16-story building will have a linear structure, and serve as a tribute to the large ships and maritime history of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Samuel Rudin, the late patriarch of Rudin Management Co., had a simple rule: if the property had no subway access, he wasn’t interested. However, things have changed and so have commutation habits. Bill Rudin, chief executive officer of Rudin Management Co., told the WSJ that he has tinkered with the rule, in order to align with today’s reality. The Rudin family now says that “if you can’t get there by subway or ferry, we don’t want to own it.”

Some might consider the location of Dock 72 “transportation-challenged,” yet that’s far from the truth. The riverfront doorstep serves as a second stop on a ferry route from lower Manhattan. A subway station is at a 15 minutes’ walk, and the Navy Yard provides shuttle service to and from train stations. Valet car and bike parking are available on site, along with a City Bike docking station just outside. This makes Dock 72, if not an easy commute, then at least one full of alternatives.

One of the country’s 11 most endangered historical places

In 2007, the National Trust for Historic Preservation dubbed the Brooklyn Waterfront one of the country’s 11 most endangered historic places. Since then, the Brooklyn waterfront has been going through major changes. A study done by our sister company CommercialCafé details on how adaptive reuse projects are used to bring back to life the nation’s once leading manufacturing powerhouse, by transforming industrial spaces into high-end office buildings.

The new trend on the waterfront comes as a preferred alternative to demolition, and is more and more present in areas like Red Hook, Greenpoint, Williamsburg and the Navy Yard, which are all experiencing a building boom.

Dock 72 seeks to attract firms from both within and outside Brooklyn, and to ensure the development of the Brooklyn Navy Yard as an independent office market. One firm looking to set up shop in Brooklyn is, according to the WSJ, Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp.

WeWork, the global co-working firm, has already agreed to be the anchor tenant of Dock 72, and co-founder Miguel McKelvey told NY Curbed that “a redevelopment project of this size and scale is a testament to the vision of our co-developers and of New York city to reinvent, reuse and revitalize this historically significant place.”

Yet the big question mark remains, can Brooklyn’s waterfront become a self-sustained office market, or will it continue to be an extension of the Manhattan office scene? Gabe Marans, managing director of real estate service firm Savills Studley, told the WSJ that “it’s just a matter of time” until the borough gets its own big office boom.

Roxana Poenar

Roxana Poenar

With a taste for learning, Roxana joined PropertyShark in order to expand her knowledge of all things real estate. Passionate about reading and travelling, if she's not at her desk or engrossed in one of her books, then she's probably packing her backpack for a new adventure.

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