It’s full steam ahead for this old ship-making site!
An ancient Brooklyn Navy Yard building that churned out sailing vessels when it debuted more than a century ago will soon welcome contemporary manufacturing businesses, after workers finish a gut renovation — which stewards of the Fort Greene Yard said will be the last makeover giving new life to an old structure on the site as part of its ongoing redevelopment into a modern commercial hub.
Workers recently broke ground on renovations to the 1904-built Building 127, whose yet to be announced tenants will bring hundreds more jobs to the 300-acre campus when they move in, according to the head honcho of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the quasi-governmental agency that facilitates construction projects on the site.
“The redevelopment of Building 127 will add 300 good-paying jobs, and marks a turning point from the redevelopment of our historic buildings to new construction,” said David Eherenberg.
Plans for the project include ripping out the insides of the Morris Avenue building between Third and Fourth Streets — which until last year housed offices for bigwigs at Cumberland Packing Corporation, the firm that for years locally made products such as Sweet’N Low and Sugar in the Raw until it announced the closure of its Fort Greene factory in 2016 — along with replacing its massive windows, and modernizing its bathrooms, elevators, and loading docks in order to create nearly two football fields’ worth of manufacturing space, Eherenberg said.
Design gurus at New York City-based S9 Architecture are overseeing the $42-million transformation of Building 127, where the United States Navy for decades built boats before the sweetener-maker moved in. It is one of several historic Navy Yard structures where renovations are ongoing or recently wrapped, including Building 77 — which last year opened as a center for local food-and-drink production after years as a warehouse — and the Green Manufacturing Center, which now serves as a hub for startup tech firms and other tenants after once serving as another of the sprawling property’s ship-making facilities.
Elsewhere in the Yard, workers recently opened a virtual- and augmented-reality hub for students and professionals; began construction on a new learning house dedicated to science, math, engineering, and the arts; and are wrapping up the finishing touches on development projects at three additional sites — Dock 72, Admiral’s Row, and Steiner Studios — some of which are open, with all set to be up-and-running by 2019.
And down the line, officials’ grand 30-year plan to make the walled-off campus more welcoming to neighbors also calls for erecting more new buildings on Kent and Flushing avenues, some of which could replace the Police Department’s notoriously despised Navy Yard tow pound, and may require the city to sign off on a rezoning in order to proceed.