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PR- 404-07
November 7, 2007


Green Renovation and Expansion of “Marine Commandant’s Residence” to Preserve History of Navy Yard, Document Growth of City-Owned Industrial Park

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn today announced plans for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Historical Center, which will be housed in the United States Marine Corps Commandant’s residence, built in 1857 and now known as Building 92.  Once renovated and expanded, with a modern structure attached to the rear of the building, the 25,000-square-foot facility will house a new center that will celebrate the Navy Yard’s past, present and future and will provide community meeting space and office facilities for the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment (BCUE). Renovation of Building 92 will include construction of a modern building behind the current structure, and will achieve LEED status as designated by the United States Green Building Council. Joining the Mayor and the Speaker at the announcement were Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC) President and CEO Andrew H. Kimball, BNYDC Chairman Alan Fishman, and Pam Green, the Executive Director of the Weeksville Society Heritage Center.

“The Brooklyn Navy Yard is currently undergoing its largest expansion since World War II.  While it is important to continue the transformation of the Navy Yard into one of the most successful urban industrial parks in America, it also is essential that we remember its rich and historic past,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This new ‘green’ facility will celebrate the Yard’s history as well as its continued development as a national model for sustainable industrial parks.  It will also continue the Navy Yards role as a good neighbor to the surrounding communities by providing local meeting space.”

The New York City Council committed $10 million towards the $15 million project.  The remaining $5 million in funding will be jointly raised through public-private partnerships. The current building was designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas U. Walter – part of the team that designed the United States Capitol in Washington, DC.   An RFP for design of this project will be issued this week.  The historical center will open in early 2010.

“New York City, perhaps more than any other city in the country, is known for its diverse and vibrant historical heritage,” said Speaker Quinn.  “That's why my colleagues in the Council and I are proud to provide support for the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation as it continues to work toward making the Brooklyn Navy Yard Historical Center a reality.”
The Brooklyn Historical Society has been enlisted to serve in an advisory capacity for the development of an exhibit for the historical center and associated educational programs.  BNYDC also established an advisory committee to develop a program for the historical center – comprised of historians, curators, exhibition designers and representatives from the Yard’s surrounding communities – which will work closely with the Navy Yard to design the exhibit.  The exhibition is envisioned as having a robust multi-media component including both on-site and web accessible elements. 

"Thanks to the leadership of the Mayor, the Brooklyn Navy Yard is fast becoming the nation's preeminent, sustainable industrial park" said BNYDC President Kimball, "We take great pride in our relationship with the surrounding communities and the Historical Center will be one of numerous improvements we will be making to the perimeter of the Yard over the next two years that will create jobs, celebrate the Yard's past, present and future, and provide a substantially more attractive physical presence."

BNYDC’s archive has preserved 35,000 architectural plans and is in the process of digitizing  another 17,000 images from the National Archives that will supplement the content development for the exhibit. BNYDC is also partnering with a local author, Jennifer Egan, to develop an oral history through interviews with women who worked at the Navy Yard during WWII.  This will be the first of a number of oral history projects that will be accessible both on-line and on site at the historical center. As a part of its efforts to involve the local community in this project, BNYDC will work with a group of freshman students at Benjamin Banneker Academy to provide input on exhibition, building design and construction issues while gaining invaluable real world experience. Lead private funding for the exhibition has been committed by the Independence Community Foundation (ICF).

“ICF is proud to be the lead in providing private funding for the Navy Yard Historical Center,” said Marilyn Gelber, Executive Director of Independence Community Foundation.  “For too long, the treasures of the Brooklyn Navy Yard had been cut off from the site’s adjacent communities.  This exciting project will provide access to and context for the Yard’s rich military and industrial history, while simultaneously introducing visitors and students to the Yard’s current tenants: the media and green manufacturing firms in the vanguard of Brooklyn’s economic renaissance.  We are particularly pleased that the Brooklyn Historical Society, another ICF granted and esteemed local institution, will offer technical assistance to this far reaching endeavor.”  

In October 2006, Mayor Bloomberg and BNYDC launched a three-year, $250 million privately-financed expansion of the Navy Yard, supported by $210 million in infrastructure improvements from the City, that is resulting in the creation of 1.3 million square feet of new space and 1,500 new jobs over three years.  The expansion includes:

  • Construction of the 89,000-square-foot Perry building that will be complete in June 2008
  • Adaptive reuse of Building 128, to create over 300,000 square feet of food manufacturing and processing space
  • Development of two additional industrial buildings adding over 200,000 square feet of new space to be built using land to be made available through shrinkage of the NYPD tow pound at the corner of Sands Street and Navy Street.  In addition to the added capacity, the tow pound redevelopment includes the renovation and preservation of the historic Sands Street gate entryway.
  • A 280,000 square foot expansion of Steiner Studios and 400,000-600,000 square foot expansion of B&H Photo.

In keeping with the Administration’s commitment to increase energy efficiency and conserve water by building sustainable buildings, BNYDC will apply to the U.S. Green Building Council for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver rating for the Perry building.  This is expected to be nation’s first LEED Silver-certified, multi-tenant, multi-story industrial building in the United States.  BNYDC plans to undertake additional measures intended to transform the Navy Yard into America’s “greenest” industrial park.

BNYDC is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the Navy Yard under a lease with the City of New York.  BNYDC leases space in the Yard, promotes local economic development, develops underutilized areas and oversees modernization of the Yard’s infrastructure.  The corporation’s board of directors is comprised of leaders of Brooklyn’s economic development community.

Established in 1801, the Brooklyn Navy Yard served as one of America’s preeminent military facilities for more than 150 years.  Closed by the federal government in 1966, the City of New York subsequently assumed ownership and re-opened the Yard as an industrial park. The City-owned industrial park now operates at 99% capacity and is growing to meet significant demand for space from new industrial tenants.  The Navy Yard presently houses more than 230 private-sector firms that provide approximately 4,000 permanent jobs, half of which are held by Brooklyn residents.  In addition, on a daily basis, the industrial park is home to between 500 and 1,000 temporary, production-related positions associated with Steiner Studios, a full-service production facility situated at the Navy Yard.


Stu Loeser/John Gallagher   (212) 788-2958

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