A 16-story former ammunition depot with two-foot thick walls is ready to be transformed into a state-of-the-art medical lab. Building 77, as its known, is the largest structure in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and it's been
abandoned only partially used for the last five decades. The Journal notes that its renovation marks a huge milestone for the Navy Yard Development Corporation, which has been at the forefront of the city's manufacturing revival. But the bunker-like structure presents some challenges. Debris litters the 1 million-square-foot interior and it smells of decay, plus there are only windows on the top two floors. The extreme makeover will cost upwards of $60 million (most of which the development corporation raised), but the project already signed an anchor tenant.
Jack Basch plans to move his Shiel Medical Laboratory into 240,000-square-feet of Building 77. Basch already operates in another building on site, but the larger space will let him create 300 to 400 new jobs. Part of Building 77's attraction is the large floor plates that technology companies love, plus there are views of Manhattan, Williamsburg, and Brooklyn on all four sides.
Building 77 is just one piece in the Brooklyn Navy Yard makeover puzzle. There's also the demolition/conversion of Admiral's Row into a supermarket and retail complex, and Steiner Studios, which already operates in the Yard, plans to convert the old hospital complex into a media campus; and a 220,000-green-manufacturing center is in the works. The ground was laid for these bigger developments by continued growth in the Yard: the Bloomberg administration has spent about $250 to upgrade the infrastructure, and another $750 million of private money has been invested in renovations and projects. From 2001 to 2011, the Yard's economic output jumped from $516 million to $2 billion, and the number of jobs increased from 2,700 to 10,000.
UPDATE: Curbed mistakenly said the building was abandoned for the last 50 years when in fact it had been partially occupied for some of that time. S & F Warehouse worked in the building, occupying all but the top two floors, from the 1970s to 1990s. Curbed regrets the error.
· New Project Brings Anchor to Navy Yard [WSJ]
· Brooklyn Navy Yard coverage [Curbed]