Tech, tech, boom! Developers banking on Bushwick as next big startup hub

Tech, tech, boom! Developers banking on Bushwick as next big startup hub

The new Silicon Alley will really live up to its name.

Bushwick is still in its first trimester of gentrification but developers are already snapping up massive neighborhood warehouses to convert into trendy offices for what they hope will become New York’s next big startup scene.

“We think it’s the place to go,” said Jim Stein, vice president of developer Lincoln Property Co., which recently bought a six-story former coffee-roasting warehouse on Jefferson Street at Cypress Avenue for $46 million, which it plans on turning into an office complex dubbed the Jefferson.

The pitch to potential tenants is that hoards of creative types — known in real-estate jargon as “tech, advertising, media, and information” workers — are already living in the neighborhood, and they can set up shop at cheaper rates than Manhattan or Dumbo, right in the middle of the employment marketplace.

“The Jefferson is a once in a generation opportunity for TAMI tenants searching for an exceptional Brooklyn branding opportunity,” Stein said in a promotional release. “Managers will have a competitive advantage in attracting sought after employees by offering the convenience of working near their homes versus commuting to Manhattan.”

View from the top: Techies who take over the Jefferson’s office spaces will enjoy panoramic views of Manhattan.

The building’s brochures claims Bushwick is “Brooklyn’s new energetic cultural core” and boast of the area’s “live music venues and world renowned street art.”

Between hipsters moving further and further along the L line and a dearth of office space throughout the borough, Bushwick is indeed primed to explode as a commercial district, according to the dean of Downtown commercial real estate agents.

“You have a connection to Manhattan, and a tremendous amount of people who want to live in that area, and you don’t have enough space [to work],” said Christopher Havens, a commercial broker for aptsandlofts.com.

A handful of techies have already set up shop in or near the nabe, and a start-up scene is already forming, according to one newcomer.

“There really is a community here we didn’t know about until we moved here,” said Max Friefeld, co-founder of 3D-printing company Voodoo Manufacturing, which took over a chunk of the warehouse at Stagg Street and Morgan Avenue in July. Voodoo shares the same building as video-streaming service Livestream, which held an event called Hack Bushwick there last year.

Culture vultures: Developers are turning a 3-acre Johnson Avenue site into what they call a “creative community” with restaurants, stores, and office space.

And it is only a matter of time before the Voodoo clan fulfill the live-work-play trifecta envisioned by developers — Friefeld said his Manhattan-dwelling employees are already making plans to move near the office.

The Jefferson joins several other massive warehouse overhauls in the area aimed at the creative crowd.

Developer Savanna purchased the former Schlitz bottling plant at Evergreen Avenue and George Street just across the border in industrial Williamsburg for $34 million in January, which it is currently renovating into a five-story office building dubbed 95 Evergreen Avenue that will feature a rooftop deck and light fixture made out of 10,000 Schlitz bottles, according to real estate blog New York Yimby.

And a trio of real estate companies purchased a sprawling three-acre industrial site on Johnson Avenue between Bogart Street and Bushwick Place for $26.75 million in May, which they plan on turning into a “creative community” that will also include restaurants, retail, and a dedicated space for “artisanal food production.”

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobb[email protected]local.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
High spirits: A rendering for 95 Evergreen Avenue, in the former Schlitz bottling plant, shows a rooftop bar.
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