Indy cars are coming to Brooklyn’s capital of indie culture.
Ayton Performance, a race car engine design and consulting company that has helped construct some of the world’s fastest automobiles, is building a machine shop on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg,
Brooklyn is better known for its gridlock than its racing culture, but engine shop owner and New York City native Ethan Bregman says that after 10 years, his company needed a permanent home — and it needed to be in the city.
“I’ve been renting space at machine shops close to clients,” said the 31-year-old, who helped build the engine of the Porsche that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race at speeds of up to 195 miles per hour. “But I grew up here, and when it was time to open a shop, I knew I had to do it here. I could have done this in Charlotte or Detroit or Indy, but this is my home.”
Bregman — who also works on race cars produced by Honda and General Motors — said costs for having a shop on a block between Wythe Avenue and Berry Street are certainly higher here than in those car and auto-racing meccas.
But some of those expenses were offset by a city program that helps businesses that set up shop on “brownfields” — offering entrepreneurs financial incentives to clean up and eventually conduct commerce on land potentially contaminated by previous users.
So far, the city has given Bregman $6,000 for investigation and cleanup of his site, as well as a $25,000 bonus for going beyond the minimum requirements of environmental remediation.
Mayor Bloomberg applauded Bregman’s move to Williamsburg and his tenacity in cleaning up the contaminated lot, which housed residences before it fell into disuse 27 years ago.
“This vacant, polluted eyesore blighted the neighborhood for decades,” said Bloomberg. “New York City is a global leader in fashion and technology. Now we can add Indy car engines to all the other things we make.”
Bregman is expected to finish his cleanup this summer and open next summer on a block that already boasts the dinner-and-a-movie destination the Nighthawk Cinema and the Daily Feed organic grocery store.