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August 13, 2012 / Brooklyn news / Greenpoint / Brooklyn Is Awesome

Kickstarter is moving to Greenpoint

Kickstarter will kickstart Greenpoint's tech community, web heads say

The Brooklyn Paper

The internet fund-raising darling Kickstarter will leave Manhattan for new offices in an old pencil factory in Greenpoint — marking the biggest coup for North Brooklyn’s burgeoning tech community so far.

The web company will bring its 45 employees to the landmarked Eberhard Faber Pencil Company building on Kent Street next year, a designer for architect Ole Sondresen said. The move won’t just give the “crowd-funding” company more space for its growing staff — Kickstarter’s arrival could help turn Greenpoint into a tech mecca, neighborhood boosters claim.

“It proves that if these companies can find the space, this is where they want to be,” said William Harvey, a sculptor, designer, and longtime champion of development in North Brooklyn. “Kickstarter shows that we have everything these companies want.”

Greenpoint is better known for its smoked sausages and wastewater treatment plant than its Silicon Valley-style businesses — but the arrival of a brand as well known as Kickstarter could change all that, said neighborhood tech advocate Andy Smith.

“Kickstarter is moving to Greenpoint for the same reason so many start-up companies are springing up here: it’s unique, it allows for innovation, and has space for companies to grow,” said Smith, who designs the curriculum at the Nassau Avenue co-working space the Yard — where Greenpoint’s webbiest workers share office space.

“With a high-profile company like Kickstarter coming here, it’s a real catalyst for Greenpoint’s growth,” he said.

In fact, the arrival of the company — which earned acclaim for streamlining the way people donate money to creative projects — could open a third front in Brooklyn’s tech civil war.

DUMBO has long been the borough’s leading digital district, but rising rents and a lack of available space have steered some would-be tenants to Downtown in recent years. City officials have pushed to make Downtown more desirable for tech companies, but some tech businesses seem to prefer hipper quarters further to the north.

“There are more tech companies in Greenpoint than people realize,” said Smith. “Greenpoint is more exciting and innovative than DUMBO. You don’t need a crystal ball to see that we’re the future.”

Kickstarter has already won the approval of the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission for a plan that calls for renovating the building between Franklin and West streets and adding an interior courtyard while retaining the structure’s aging industrial aesthetic, according to CityLandNYC.

A spokesman for Kickstarter could not reached for comment by press time, but the New York Post reports that the company plans to spend $7.5 million acquiring and fixing up the building.

Updated 4:42 pm, August 13, 2012: Story corrected to fix a misspelling spotted by our eagle-eyed commentators.
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Reader Feedback

isa from greenpoint says:
Coup. Not coop. Please.
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:22 am
Peter from Brooklyn Heigts says:
@isa - thanks.. Beat me to it.
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:25 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
This is a significant bit of news for the fledgling tech companies and other startups springing up all over Brooklyn now. It underscores the creative energy that's building to a new crescendo here and presages the biggest burst of innovation in America since Silicon Valley "arrived" in the 70's.

I dunno if there's a "tech civil war" with DUMBO though. Good for the companies that are already in that neighborhood. It's a great place to be. But it's too expensive for most startups now. And North Brooklyn does have excellent energy and the kind of warehouse spaces that suit the way technologists work so it's not surprising Kickstarter is moving there. I chose to locate my company in RedHook because it has that same energy but is closer to home. Either way it means a lot more high-paying jobs in the borough, which means a better tax base and better schools and services for everyone.
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:35 am
ty from pps says:
Scott --
I'm sure you'll hear from the crusty "locals" to tell you how you're destroying Brooklyn.

I wonder if there would ever be a time that the city would consider this 114-year experiment of a consolidated city at an end. It would be interesting to see if there would be major differences if each of the boroughs because a normal-sized city in their own right. Wealth is starting to flow around the city now in a way that we are becoming less dependent on the tax-base of Manhattan.
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:49 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
What a great new development for Greenpoint and Brooklyn in general. A high profile company like this setting up shop in Greenpoint can only lead to more great things for the neighborhood and will bring more jobs to the area. Way to go Kickstarter.
Aug. 13, 2012, 10:30 am
fredweis from greenpoint says:
http://buildingkickstart.wordpress.com/
Aug. 13, 2012, 3:15 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
always good to see local economy get pumped but manufacturing can cast a wider net - a shame how you see all the shot structures
Aug. 13, 2012, 9:16 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
old time, that's the cool thing about this wave of innovation is that it's not all software and social media stuff. Companies like MakerBot here in Brooklyn are re-inventing manufacturing around 3D-printing, where you "print" the objects you want. There are also what they call "hackerspaces" like Resistor where members (it's sort of like a gym where you pay a monthly fee and you can go in and use their C-n-C machines, etc) are experimenting with robotics, drones, and that sort of thing. Then there's a bio-hacker space, Genspace, that does the same thing for people with an interest in biology/life-sciences. One of the projects of theirs I saw at the Maker Faire at the Queens Hall of Science last year was a battery that ran off bio-engineered microbes. Of course a lot of the startups in Brooklyn are software, like mine, but quite a few are doing exciting high-tech manufacturing, too.
Aug. 14, 2012, 12:21 pm

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