Mr. Kimball, 47, oversees a $30 million annual budget at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. and his main task, as he’ll tell you, is to get buildings up. “Eighty to 90 percent of my job is figuring out how to get up new space,” he told The Commercial Observer.
Toward that effort, there are 12 new green industrial buildings in design, under construction or newly completed around the yard. They’re leased by a team of five in-house agents. The tenant base, diverse in nature, pays a range of rents—from roughly $8 a square foot up to the mid-$20s, based upon the condition of the building.
After redefining manufacturing, getting buildings up may be his main task but there’s a great deal of unspoken bridge building taking place as well. Negotiating the Navy Yard’s interaction with the community that surrounds it has been more important than ever, since the federal government transferred the buildings on Admiral’s Row to the BNYDC in January. A new RFP has been issued for a developer for the 6.08-acre site to build a supermarket topped by floors of light industrial space, neighborhood retail and “potentially a small amount of community/nonprofit office space.”
Prior to being appointed head of the BNYDC by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005, Mr. Kimball had been director of operations for NYC2012, the privately funded bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Though London ultimately won out, he said he’s proud of the process. He added that “the bidding alone fast forwarded projects,” such as the Atlantic Yards. “Those rezonings have unleashed massive economic activity for the city,” he said. And then, “Obviously I drank the Kool-Aid.” He spoke in glowing terms of former deputy mayor for economic development Daniel Doctoroff, who founded the bid prior to joining the Bloomberg administration.
He considers Mr. Doctoroff a mentor, he said, along with another former boss—Paul LeClerc, the recently retired president of the New York Public Library. Mr. Kimball was vice president of the New York Public Library from 1993 to 2001 and, he said, “raised about $250 million for a series of branch libraries,” which in turn got him into “restoring beautiful, old Carnegie branch libraries.” His energy level seems to rise when talking about the power of public-private partnerships to positively impact members of their communities—like the central library in the Bronx that went up partly due to his efforts and is now, he said, “phenomenally used.”
Not surprisingly, given his stint at NYC2012, another subject that gets him going is sports. Seemingly nimble of mind and body, he plays tennis a few weeknights and on weekends in a league at Prospect Park, not far from Park Slope, where he lives with his wife and two young sons.
“I’ve actually had five knee surgeries now from all of my sports activities,” he said (soccer is a passion as well). “I just had my second reconstruction a year ago and I’m back to playing two or three times a week.” Asked if he’d take on a role at another bid effort to bring the Olympics to the city, he laughed and said that he wasn’t sure that his wife would let him because he “kind of checked out for two years,” for what was really a seven-day-a-week job.
Follow Carl Gaines via RSS.