Brooklyn industrial complex is being transformed into a major retail hub

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Brooklyn industrial complex is being transformed into a major retail hub

Over the past three years, the owners of Industry City have spent $160 million renovating the sprawling former industrial complex in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, into a home for creative manufacturers, startups and artisans.

Now a partnership between Jamestown, Belvedere Capital and Angelo Gordon is ushering the 6-million-square-foot waterfront property into its next phase—a retail hub. In recent months, the owners have invested $8 million in constructing a 1,200-foot-long public corridor, lined with retail space, that will run through the center of nine of the complex’s 16 buildings. The corridor will span 37th to 33rd streets, between Second and Third avenues.

The passageway, dubbed Innovation Alley, is slated to be completed next year. When it is finished, it will feature about 125,000 square feet of of new retail. Rents for the spaces range from $35 to $80 per square foot.

A handful of tenants have recently leased space along the alley: Flower shop Rose Red & Lavender will move into 1,500 square feet, Moore Brothers Wine Company took 2,500 square feet, andSteampunk, a maker of espresso and coffee machines, signed on for 4,000 square feet. Steampunk will use the space for a coffee bar and a manufacturing space, where it will assemble and sell its product line.

Flavor Paper, a maker of high-end custom wallpaper, is also rumored to be taking about 5,000 square feet for a showroom, as well as sales and manufacturing space.

It will be joining a new co-working concept from two of the founders of Milk Studios, which just took 8,000 square feet in the alley. The as-yet unnamed company signed on for the space, along with 12,000 square feet on a basement level of Industry City, for a coffee shop and printing center that will serve as an amenity for the shared workspace the pair plan to open upstairs at the property.

Additionally, Hometown Bar-B-Que will signed on for a 5,000-square-foot, 100-seat barbecue hall serving authentic pit-smoked meats and traditional Southern sides and desserts at Building 5 at Industry City, located at the corner of 35th Street and Third Avenue. The restaurant, founded in Red Hook, signed a 10-year lease in May and expects to open in January 2017.

“The ground-floor retail is really the culmination of the creative culture we’re bringing to Industry City,” said Glen Siegel, the founder and chief executive of Belvedere Capital. “We’re curating the retail to offer food and goods that are made here and that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s something that’s going to draw people from around the city and continue to enhance the vibrancy of the complex.”

So far, the owners have constructed the retail corridor in six of the nine buildings.  Innovation Alley will connect to a food hall at Industry City that features tenants like One Girl Cookies, Burger Joint and Table 87 Coal Oven Pizza.

Retailers have already set up shop along the completed portions of Innovation Alley. The confectioner Li-Lac Chocolate has a manufacturing and retail space in the corridor.

In addition to the new retail, the property’s owners will open a 6,000-square-foot gym and juice bar. They are also spending $5 million to install sidewalks on the side streets between the buildings that will make the properties more pedestrian-friendly and allow additional retail space along the perimeter of the buildings.

“It will give tenants a chance to have a retail window or shop front where they can sell the products they produce,” said Michael Phillips, the president of Jamestown. Pickle maker Brooklyn Brine is one such tenant that could benefit from the improved sidewalks. Located on the ground floor of Building 5, but not in the alleyway, Brooklyn Brine makes its products and also sells them out of a small store connected to its manufacturing space.

Phillips said an increasing number of visitors are frequenting the once-far-flung complex because of the improvements and also events at the complex. Industry City hosts the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg from November to May, as well as New York Design Week and Brooklyn Fashion Week.

“We’re creating an ecosystem of both service and maker retail with food production and product manufacturing,” Phillips said. “We have 10,000 people visiting Industry City now on the weekends, and that number is going to grow.”