Andrew H. Kimball Discusses the Continued Revitalization of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Andrew H. Kimball

Andrew H. Kimball, CEO and president of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, is responsible for overseeing the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre industrial park on the Brooklyn waterfront. The not for-profit corporation manages the Navy Yard on behalf of its owner, the City.

Kimball, a New York City native, earned a bachelor’s degree in History and Government from Hamilton College in 1987. After graduation he was accepted to the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs. One of his fellowship placements focused on urban economic development policy at the New York State Urban Development Corporation (now known as the Empire State Development Corporation). The placement evolved into a full-time position where Kimball worked on streamlining ESDC’s loan and grant programs. 

Pursuing his interest in not-for-profit management, Kimball in 1995 joined the New York Public Library as chief of staff, later becoming vice president of government affairs. Kimball led an initiative to rebuild the institution’s branch libraries, helping to raise nearly $250 million in public funding to do so.

Kimball later became director of operations for NYC 2012, Daniel L. Doctoroff’s privately funded bid to bring the 2012 Summer Olympic Games to New York City. Although the City was not selected, Kimball notes that the bid accelerated many important initiatives, including the rezoning and revitalization of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront, the creation of Freshkills Park, and the extension of the No. 7 subway line and redevelopment of Manhattan’s Far West Side.

In December 2005, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed Kimball to lead the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC).

A city unto itself. Established in 1801, the Brooklyn Navy Yard served as a military facility for more than 150 years until it was closed in 1966 by the federal government. The City subsequently assumed ownership and re-opened the site in 1971 as an industrial park. Today, the Navy Yard boasts 40 acres of developable land and is home to more than 275 businesses employing more than 5,800 individuals.

Kimball states that the City has invested more than $250 million in infrastructure improvements to remediate nearly 50 years of deferred maintenance, including the replacement of water and sewer lines dating from the Civil War era. The BNYDC has leveraged this investment to generate more than $500 million in private investment. Kimball states that 100 percent of the revenue is reinvested into the Navy Yard to renovate existing infrastructure and build new industrial space.

The Navy Yard is currently undergoing an expansion that will add nearly two million square feet of space and create 2,000 new jobs over the next two to three years. And with 30 acres of developable land remaining, plans for which will be announced over the next twelve months, there are no signs that the Navy Yard will be slowing down any time soon.

Recipe for success. The Navy Yard’s 40 buildings have been 99 percent leased over the last six years and include production studios, woodworking shops, artists and architects, and a knitting mill. Kimball says that this high occupancy rate is due to the “hassle-free environment” that the walledoff industrial yard provides. Tenants can park trucks without fear of parking violations and can generate noise without disturbing neighbors. Tenants also take comfort knowing that additional space will be available for them should their businesses expand. Other amenities the Navy Yard offers include a tax credit of up to $1,000 per employee for companies that relocate from the Manhattan core, or from out-of-state by virtue of the Navy Yard being one of the City’s sixteen Industrial Business Zones.

Green industry. The BNYDC’s commitment to sustainability has transformed the Navy Yard into a national model for sustainable urban industrial parks. To foster the growth of the Navy Yard’s existing cluster of green businesses, and to be a good neighbor to surrounding communities, all infrastructure improvements at the Navy Yard are carried out with a focus on sustainability. The Navy Yard now features the nation’s first multi-story, multi-tenant LEED-certified industrial building, with twelve new LEEDcertified buildings either completed or under design and construction. The Navy Yard also features the City’s first building-mounted wind turbines, as well as the country’s first wind/solar-powered street lamps. A LEED-platinum visitor and exhibition center is slated to open in November and will highlight the history of the Navy Yard, profile its tenants, and showcase how the site has developed into a model for sustainability.

Admirals Row. On June 20, 2011 the City announced the start of the public review process for the proposed transfer of the Navy Yard’s six-acre Admirals Row site from the federal government to the City. The U.S. Army National Guard Bureau retained control of the parcel along Flushing Avenue for the past 40 years. After the transfer, the site will become part of Navy Yard. The BNYDC would oversee the redevelopment of the site, including the construction of a 74,000 sq.ft. supermarket with 127,000 sq.ft. of industrial space located above, and the restoration of two of the twelve existing historic structures on the site. The BNYDC is currently engaged in a competitive process to select a development partner for the site. If the transfer is approved, the project would break ground in 2012. — Eugene Travers

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