Last week, city and Navy Yard officials broke ground on the new 399 Sands Street, a nine-story site that will serve as both a parking facility and manufacturing and creative office space.
The city invested $40 million into the building, which is expected to create between 700 to 1,000 permanent jobs.
“We focus on creating sustainable, high-quality, middle-class accessible jobs,” said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Navy Yard. “For us as a landlord, that means providing real estate and space where companies can not only survive, but thrive.”
The first four floors will be used for parking for 430 cars. It will be available not just to Navy Yard tenants, but also customers visiting the nearby Wegmans supermarket, which is opening next year. The parking portion will be completed by 2019.
The next three floors will be dedicated to manufacturing space, while the top floor will be for creative office space. The 230,000 square feet of leasable space will be built by 2021.
The city has allocated the funds through the mayor’s New York Works plan to create 100,000 “good-paying jobs” in 10 years. Nearly a fifth of those jobs will be in the industrial and manufacturing sectors.
According to Ehrenberg, the Navy Yard is going through its largest job expansion since World War II. It is already home to 400 companies employing 7,000 New Yorkers.
In the next three years, the hub is slated to add 10,000 more jobs. Last fall, the city invested more than $100 million to transform Building 77 into a 1 million-square-foot manufacturing center, which will create 3,000 jobs.
“This is the latest example of how we’re returning the Yard to its rightful place as the heart of the borough’s economy,” Ehrenberg said.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who spoke at the rainy groundbreaking ceremony, said many people didn’t think this revival of manufacturing in urban centers was possible 20 to 30 years ago. She said the Navy Yard is the best example of how “old and new are really coming together.”
“You don’t have to be a student of history to realize what an amazing statement that is,” Glen said. “People had written off the idea of making things in New York City for decades.
“Now we’re making all sorts of things here, whether it’s coffee, armor for the US Army, furniture, bagels,” she added. “It’s unbelievable what’s happening here.”
The deputy mayor said these jobs are for people in the local neighborhood, who will get the necessary training. Wegmans, for example, is working with the Navy Yard’s employment centers to train local residents.
Ehrenberg said they will also set up satellite offices at the surrounding NYCHA complexes to make sure residents have access to the Navy Yard’s jobs.
The building at 399 Sands Street will be part of Steiner NYC’s Admirals Row project, with Wegmans as an anchor tenant across the street. Doug Steiner, chairman of Steiner NYC, said the company is on its way to creating up to 6,000 new jobs over the next decade.
Steiner is also adding another six stages to its studios by next month. The firm is behind a mixed-use affordable housing project that will create 150 affordable apartments in Downtown Brooklyn.
“The investment here is creating jobs and helping people have an opportunity to participate in the new economy,” he said. “Job growth wants to be in Brooklyn, the space need is critical.”
Steiner spoke highly of Wegmans, which he called the country’s best supermarket chain. Not only do they have high-quality produce and foods, but they are cheaper than most and have “the best service in the business.”
Most importantly, he said, they are consistently ranked as one of the best employers in the United States and employ twice as many people as a typical supermarket.
“They could’ve gone anywhere they want in New York City, we were thrilled they chose to locate here,” Steiner said. “What’s been a food desert will now be the opposite. This will be the epicenter for the best supermarket in New York City.”