Creative & Tech: Not Just North Brooklyn Anymore


Dumbo, which garnered its fame as a home for creative and tech by packing tenants into one small neighborhood, now has but a handful of spaces available. Also, the demand-supply spread is way out of whack in Williamsburg, due to a lack of product, fine area amenities, hip residents and the vibrant tenant market.

Clearly these two neighborhoods, now at 99 percent occupancy, need both more space and alternatives to take the pressure off.

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Creative tenants (design, art, media, branding) are everywhere in Brooklyn, with tech not far behind. From the Brooklyn Army Terminal (Jacques Torres) to Industry City (Makerbot, two hundred artists, the West Elm Photo Studio) on the Sunset Park waterfront, all the way to 1000 Dean in Crown Heights, opening this fall with 3rd Ward’s city-sponsored shared commercial kitchen on the ground floor, 21st-century tenants are busting out all over Brooklyn.

The big Makerbot and Tough Mudder deals made by Forest City, Cushman & Wakefield (CWK) and CBRE (CBRE) dominate the headlines from MetroTech. While those deals are crucial to the inevitable tech and creative takeover of Downtown Brooklyn, equally important are the small tenant deals filing space in modest buildings.

The property at 32 Court Street, with the highest percentage of creatives on the street, added MiMedia cloud computing last winter and boasts Bruce Springsteen’s publicist as a tenant. The first home of Etsy, 325 Gold Street, serves the creative and tech community by providing affordable leases.  Iyengar Yoga, the top trainer of yoga instructors, expanded from Chelsea to 525 Pacific Street. ISJ Management leased space to the famous Freelancers Union in a Fulton Street property.

The work space gut rehab in Crown Heights off Franklin Avenue—once one of the roughest areas in central Brooklyn—will be getting mid-20s rents on an industrial block that was notorious in the 1980s and is now home to loft-dwelling artists, craft tenants and a live/work loft over a commercial laundry.

Yet Brooklyn’s biggest commercial story is the now-accelerating transformation of the Sunset Park waterfront, from the Liberty View state-of-the-art warehouse project on 29th Street to the Army Terminal in the 50s to Industry City, the biggest prewar industrial complex in the hemisphere under one owner.

I say the area will be the future home of hundreds of modern manufacturing tenants, artists, office workers and craft tenants. Sunset Park work space growth is the creation of many folks helping the complex’s ownership, not least the City Economic Development Corporation, Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez and Community Board 7. Watch this area blow up to citywide attention by 2015.

Creative and tech are everywhere and growing fast. Are you landlords ready for them?