In Support of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Special District
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I am Adam Friedman, Director of the Pratt Center, which runs the Made In NYC program serving more than 1,500 local manufacturers. I also chair the national Urban Manufacturing Alliance which includes practitioners in 200 cities.
As a long-time member of the Navy Yard’s Board of Directors, I have seen the evolution of their model for mission-driven development. I often use the Navy Yard to illustrate best-practice in everything from the curation of tenants to build out a strong ecosystem, to their employment center which has been so successful in recruiting and placing NYCHA residents, to very deliberate and comprehensive redesign of their programs and operations to advance racial and economic justice.
Chairman Moya and Councilmember Reynoso raised a critical issue regarding non-industrial uses, such as hotels, being located in M zones which could ignite displacement and which I oppose. But that is NOT a risk here.
Converting buildings to maximize profits is not a risk because it is not the Yard’s mission. Creating industrial jobs is its mission. And there are other safeguards including the Yard’s tenanting guidelines and the Board approval required for each lease. And the Navy Yard is ultimately controlled by the Mayor. Allowing showroom and academic space will strengthen the manufacturing eco-system.
I appreciate that land use planning typically considers the use and not the user. So, it might appear that a for-profit developer is the same as a nonprofit developer from a land use perspective.
That assumption is no longer valid. A nonprofit developer typically makes different decisions about many things—from waste handling and energy efficiency, to parking and incentives for mass transit and local employment which encourage walk-to-work communities, all of which combine to have different land use impacts.
Allowing showroom and academic space will add to the resources and vibrancy of the Yard and support the manufacturing eco-system. In this case I have no hesitation supporting the proposed amendment because there are controls beyond zoning including their contracts with the City and their mission. These controls are decisive and as David Ehrenberg said at the beginning, the zoning should embody the mission.
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