City begins search for contractors to develop and operate $100M Climate Innovation Hub in Sunset Park

climate innovation hub at Brooklyn Army Terminal
The city is searching for developers to build and operate the future Climate Innovation Hub at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.
Image courtesy of NYCEDC

The city is searching for an operator to develop and run the $100 million Climate Innovation Hub at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Mayor Eric Adams announced the massive project during his State of the City address in January, saying it would offer climate-focused laboratories and facilities, business development programs, and workforce training to help move the city into the “green economy.”

“The Climate Innovation Hub will further secure New York’s position at the center of the green economy revolution,” Adams said in a statement. “As we laid out in our State of the City address, we’re going to have 400,000 green economy jobs in New York by 2040, and we’re going to harness the tremendous economic potential of building a cleaner, greener city for our children.”

Brooklyn Army Terminal climate
The Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. File photo courtesy of NYCEDC

But first, they need contractors who can develop and build the facility. 

According to the request for proposals, the city’s Economic Development Corporation — which is overseeing the project – is looking for organizations with “key expertise” in business incubator programs, real estate, laboratory operations, and research and development, as well as a financial investor.

Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of NYCEDC, said he was “thrilled” to release the RFP, and for all the project will bring.

“There is no better location for the Climate Innovation Hub than at the historic Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, which will serve as a home for clean tech innovation and manufacturing, encourage climate innovation startups, all while training and positioning New Yorkers of all backgrounds to benefit from the nearly 400,000 projected ‘green-collar’ jobs in the City by 2040,” he said in a statement. 

The RFP invites pitches with plans to create business growth programs, manufacturing facilities, pilot programs, and workforce development training — and attract public and private partners and resources.

A goal for applicants, per the RFP, is to “implement a business model for the Hub to become financially self-sufficient.”

Local representatives lauded the project, and the decision to locate it in Sunset Park — which has faced disproportionate effects of climate change and fossil fuel infrastructure. 

The coastal nabe is more prone to coastal flooding than most in New York City, and has “one of the worst nitrogen dioxide pollution levels in New York City,” according to Elijah Hutchinson, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice.

Local organizations like UPROSE have long been working to protect the community from climate change and prepare it for the transition to renewable energy. Advocates have urged the city to take bold action and adapt Sunset Park’s industrial areas for renewable energy. 

sunset park climate protest
UPROSE called for green jobs and infrastructure in Sunset Park during a 2021 protest. File photo by Paul Frangipane

The Climate Innovation Hub is just one part of the city’s “Harbor of the Future” project, which will create climate-focused facilities in five coastal nabes across the city. All together, the city projects Harbor of the Future will create more than 50,000 jobs.

“With New York City’s launch of its request for proposal for the Climate Innovation Hub at Brooklyn Army Terminal, NYCEDC is not just building a hub, but a solid foundation in which future projects will culminate from our City, and its brilliant minds, to develop 21st-century solutions to address the issues of climate change,” said Assembly Member Marcela Mitaynes, in a statement. “By working together with Environmental Justice communities like Sunset Park, we will cultivate a community of innovators dedicated to combating climate change, transforming ideas into actions, and shaping a greener, more resilient tomorrow for all.”

Responses to the RFP are due by July 18, 2024, and the city is hosting a number of information sessions and tours for interested parties over the next few months.