Money docks: Taxpayer cash for Navy Yard renovation

Naval maneuver! New maritime history museum looks forward and back
Photo by Paul Martinka

Pols are pouring $140 million of taxpayer money into fixing up a building at the Navy Yard.

The funds, set aside by Mayor DeBlasio, Council members, and Borough President Adams, are supposed to go towards renovating a former warehouse and Navy office to allow for more companies to move into the office, studio, and manufacturing park that honchos say has been booked solid for the past decade.

“This place is hot as can be,” DeBlasio said at a press conference announcing the funding on Monday. “And any space that’s created here will be filled — that’s the reality. There’s a huge demand to be here.”

The space is sorely needed for companies that are already located in the Navy Yard and are looking to expand, as well as new companies that are on a waiting list to get into the city-owned compound, its head said.

“Today, we literally have not a single square foot to lease at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and we have not been able to keep up with demands of our existing tenants as they’ve wanted to expand and grow their employment,” Navy Yard president David Ehrenberg said.

Navy Yard management has been planning the redevelopment of the structure, called Building 77, since 2010. But the original rehab plans would only have covered the top few floors, leaving the rest as warehouse space. The cash infusion allowed Yard planners to expand the project to include the whole building, according to pols.

During World War II, the Navy Yard employed 70,000 people. Now, 330 companies rent space in the facility, employing 7,000, according to the Navy Yard. The mayor and Navy Yard brass say the new project will bring 3,000 more workers through the gates when it opens in 2016.

DeBlasio stressed that many of the jobs supplied by Navy Yard companies are “good-paying” and provide benefits.

“Our vision is about the growth of our economy, the creation of jobs, the creation specifically of jobs that are high-quality jobs — good wages, good benefits, the kind of jobs that can sustain families,” he said. “And that’s what you find here at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”

It was not immediately clear what “good-paying” means.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperl‌man@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.