standard Sunset Park Warehouse to Become Fashion, Manufacturing, and Tech Hub

City to Invest $3.5 Million in Partnership With Developer Salmar Properties
A rendering of the proposed retrofitted space (via Manufacture New York)

A rendering of the proposed retrofitted space (via Manufacture New York)

In an effort to expand the city’s fashion and manufacturing sectors while also supporting exploration into new technologies, the Economic Development Corporation announced a $3.5 million investment in an “Innovation Hub” in Sunset Park.

Located at the privately-operated Liberty View Industrial Plaza, a 1.1 million square foot, 8-story industrial building along the Sunset Park waterfront, the Hub will occupy 160,000 square feet to provide research, design, development, and manufacturing resources for New York’s emerging designers and apparel manufacturers, while also supporting ventures into robotics and wearable technology. The City of New York, via NYCEDC, will invest with Salmar Properties, the building owner, through its Industrial Modernization Initiative (IMOD) to allow for the fit-out, modernization, and subdivision of the currently-vacant space.

Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball, Manufacture New York CEO Bob Bland and Salmar Properties’ Marvin Schein made the announcement Thursday morning at the hub’s future location. They were joined by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, State Senator Martin J. Golden, Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna, and others.

“We are focused on making investments that are going to spur innovation, create good jobs and keep New York City competitive,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “Fashion and manufacturing aren’t just legacy industries, they are rapidly evolving parts of our economy that are adapting new technologies and changing every day. Here in Sunset Park, working with our private sector partners, we’re ensuring companies at the cutting edge of these industries can grow and innovate right here in New York City.”

Approximately 300 jobs in 20-30 businesses, including designers, manufacturers and related industries, are anticipated to be housed at the facility, which will include a workforce development center, wearable technology research, a small-run factor, a design accelerator, and an incubator space with private studios, sewing rooms, and conference rooms. The Manufacturing Innovation Hub will also be the new headquarters of Manufacture New York, a work hive for independent designers which is relocating from elsewhere within Liberty View Industrial Plaza. Previously, Manufacture New York operated a pilot fashion incubator in Manhattan’s Garment District.

“New York’s fashion manufacturers will have access to world class industrial space and infrastructure at prices they can afford,” said Bob Bland, a fashion designer who founded Manufacture New York. “We will work inclusively with established fashion industry veterans, non-profit and community partners, educational institutions, and the incredibly diverse community of emerging designers and local manufacturers to lay the foundation for tremendous change in our industry.”

Liberty View Industrial Plaza, formerly known as Federal Building #2, was transferred to the City in 2011 after more than a decade of vacancy. The building was subsequently leased via a competitive Request For Proposals (RFP) process to Salmar Properties, which invested close to $100 million in a complete renovation of the property, including the installation of a new roof, windows, façade, and utilities. The majority of current tenants engage in light manufacturing.

“Liberty View is now the most modern high-tech industrial facility in the City and serves as the transformative building in Sunset Park,” said Salmar Properties Co-Founder Marvin Schein. “Our vision is to promote job creation in New York and to develop Liberty View as the new hub for the City’s fashion industry that is being squeezed out of Manhattan by high rents and lack of space.”

The property in its current condition (Photo by Matthew Taub)

The property in its current condition (Photo by Matthew Taub)

Speakers heralded a comprehensive system of mentorship, training and support at the Hub that would enable them to solve 21st century problems in the supply chains of the fashion ecosystem, bringing long-term, sustainable growth to the economy. The City’s fashion industry currently accounts for nearly 6 percent of the city’s workforce, paying $10.9 billion in wages, and generating nearly $2 billion in tax revenue annually. New York City’s wholesale fashion market is one of the world’s largest, attracting more than 500,000 visitors per year to its trade shows, showrooms and fashion shows. Overall, the industry garners more than $18 billion in retail sales, $72 billion in wholesale sales, and $8 billion in manufacturing sales annually. The city’s semi-annual Fashion Weeks draw approximately 232,000 attendees to more than 500 shows, creating a total economic impact of $887 million.

The Manufacturing Innovation Hub builds upon the City’s suite of fashion initiatives, including the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, a public-private program designed to support and promote growth of small businesses in the City’s fashion and manufacturing sectors, as well as seed funding for the CFDA Fashion Incubator, professional mentorship in design and fashion management, and networking and educational programs.