BROOKLYN — Lafayette 148 will be among the first apparel-industry firms to make the jump to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, New York City’s new hub for urban manufacturing.
On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the ribbon for Building 77, a 1 million-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing building that is the largest on the 300-acre industrial campus.
The former World War II-era storage facility was renovated at a cost of $185 million and is the centerpiece of a $1 billion investment at the Brooklyn Navy Yards that is ultimately intended to add more than 2 million square feet of space and 10,000 jobs by 2020. The 16-story Building 77 is located at the corner of Vanderbilt and Flushing Avenues and will accommodate 3,000 workers.
“As a major driver of quality middle-class jobs, investing in and expanding manufacturing space is key to growing and diversifying our economy and boosting wages,” de Blasio said. “As we reopen this historic building, we reimagine New York’s future.”
Lafayette 148, which has been operating in SoHo for 20 years, has taken 100,000 square feet in the building, according to published reports. The company will keep one floor at 148 Lafayette Street where it also operates a retail store, but will relocate its senior executives as well as its cut-and-sew workers to the repurposed building.
“We are excited to join the thriving tech and creative community in Brooklyn and contribute to the renaissance of the Brooklyn Navy Yard,” said Deirdre Quinn, cofounder and chief executive officer of Lafayette 148. “This location allows us to bring employees together on one floor with room to grow and to move closer to our warehouse and fulfillment center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal. This provides a more seamless and interactive work environment with the kinds of efficiencies that are essential to success in a very competitive industry.”
Other companies that have committed to take space in the building are Russ & Daughters, a Lower East Side food purveyor; Catbird, a jewelry manufacturer; Lights Up, a lighting manufacturer; Situ Studio, a metal fabricator, and Care Of, a vitamin manufacturer.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is home to around 400 companies and 7,000 workers. Within the next three years, that number is expected to more than double to 17,000, according to the city. Building 77 is the largest structure in the Navy Yard complex and is 62 percent leased.
The New York City Economic Development Corp. has been spearheading the discussion of relocating some Garment District firms out of Manhattan to Sunset Park in Brooklyn. Sunset Park boasts 265,000 square feet of garment manufacturing with an additional 500,000 square feet of industrial space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.