The Brooklyn Navy Yard Wants to Appeal to Creative Office Tenants

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When the forces behind the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the East River waterfront decided to redevelop the decaying 19th-century homes at Admiral’s Row, they opted to replace the wooden houses with commercial buildings, including a Wegmans grocery store, parking and industrial space.

The newest of those structures, Building 303, has four floors of parking and four floors of manufacturing space. But the ninth story of the building will be reserved for event space or creative office tenants, such as an advertising agency, a design firm or a company that needs production space as well as an office. Asking rents hover around $40 a square foot for the 50,000-square-foot ninth floor.

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Renderings of a potential buildout for the space show polished concrete floors, large windows, and suspended plant walls, as well as a warm, wooden accent wall behind a white oak reception desk and rounded hanging pendant lamps. Of course, the floor is currently empty and white-boxed, and the renderings just offer a potential design.

Over at Building 77, the Navy Yard has spent $187 million upgrading what was once a windowless storage warehouse that the Navy constructed in 1942. The Navy Yard and its brokers, led by Brad Gerla at CBRE, are marketing 78,000 square feet on the 15th and 16th floors of the monolithic industrial building. An 8,000-square-foot penthouse has been constructed on the top floor, allowing a tenant to have a 16,500-square-foot, private roof deck right outside their door.

The Navy Yard’s renderings depict floor-to-ceiling windows and large, retractable glass doors separating the office from the terrace, though the space is currently outfitted with normal doorways. Asking rent is $35 a square foot. The 1 million-square-foot building also has a renovated ground floor with a food hall that includes Russ & Daughters, Transmitter Brewing and The Food Sermon.

Despite a dramatic drop in office occupancy and leasing, Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Chief Development Officer, Johanna Greenbaum, said that the city-owned manufacturing complex had already seen its workers return.

“We see our population is really back,”  Greenbaum said. “And leasing would have been even faster if COVID had not slowed business.”

CBRE’s Gerla said that the yard benefits from its Brooklyn location and community feel. “People really make the Navy Yard their work home,” he explained. “They stay there after work. There’s a sense of community. I haven’t seen that anywhere.”