Food on the Forefront: A New Brooklyn Navy Yard 


The Brooklyn Navy Yard is the massive industrial park created in what was once a thriving naval base comprised of 300-acres across Brooklyn’s waterfront. The Navy Yard included a hospital and once employed 70,000 people. The federal government closed the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1966, but private shipbuilding continued until 1979. New York City bought the 300-acre site after the Navy Yard closed, but did nothing with it for 20 years and it fell into ruin. Between 1966 and 1996, New York City only invested $3 million into the Navy Yard. In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, the City began to take interest again, and from that moment on, $250 million has been invested from public/city funds and $750 million in private funds. Just like the rest of Brooklyn, the transformation is underway.

Opening in June 2016, Building 128 is the new 84,000 square foot facility where the American shipbuilding location once was and is hi-tech with the creation of New Lab  “New Lab is a community of hardware-centric designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs leveraging advanced technologies to create meaningful new products. We offer a place and platform for inciting new paradigms in manufacturing and seek to nurture companies who are pushing boundaries and developing the next evolution of responsible enterprises. We are home to a group of innovators in robotics, nanotechnology, material science, biology, industrial design, and physical computing working together to rethink, redesign, and unleash products that enrich our lives.”  New Lab is home to 50 companies, set to open its doors in Spring 2016, featuring private studios & co-working, lounges & open spaces, prototyping shops, event space, meeting rooms and cafes; all in open natural lighting.

Building 77 will take up more than 1 million square feet of space, and is slated to be unveiled in 2017. Office and shared work spaces, private event spaces, and a massive ground-floor food hall that will be anchored by the first Brooklyn outpost of Russ & Daughters the legendary family-run Lower East Side store taking 14,000 square feet. R & D will move its bakery and food production operations from Bushwick to the Navy Yard. The new space will also provide shipping and catering services and a restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Workers and visitors will be able to watch Russ & Daughters’ manufacturing facilities through glass walls – a concept that will be used by many tenants of the food hall. This all falls under the concept of making shopping and dining an “event” or “entertainment” center and the Brooklyn Navy Yard is all about that. The top two floors will be known as The Beacon, offering unobstructed views of Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn, 140,000 square feet of commercial space, and 11 foot ceilings. Building 77 will also feature 16,000 square feet of usable rooftop space and eight 1,200-square-foot private terraces.

Among the new Navy Yard’s list of amenities is a free shuttle service with Wi-Fi, seven additional Citi Bike stations, and 1,600 parking spaces. The Navy Yard’s two-loop shuttle service will run every 10 minutes and connect to 13 nearby subway lines and will bring workers not just to local subway stations but also to the LIRR. Other massive projects include the Green Manufacturing Center, Dock 72, Steiner Studios and Admiral’s Row.

TFS-SF Aug2016 Restaurant 728×90

Wegmans, the beloved grocery store chain, has won out over three other proposals to replace part of Admiral’s Row meeting the neighborhood’s need for affordable food shopping and the chain’s promise to bringing 200 full-time jobs and 600 total jobs to the area, more than twice that of any other proposal. The store will be developed by Steiner NYC, and is expected to open in 2017. It will be New York City’s first Wegmans and, at 74,000 square feet, it will be larger than both the Red Hook Fairway and the Gowanus Whole Foods. 

The Mast Brothers Chocolatiers are building a new factory and “chocolate brewery” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Michael and Rick Mast are taking over a 65,000-square-foot space to be their headquarters and production facility. They will double their existing workforce. Also coming to the Yard; Brooklyn Roasting Company, and Kings County Distillery.

With such expansion, this area is on track to become not only a technology incubator but a foodie’s paradise! 

Happy Dining!

Faith Hope Consolo, Chairman of Douglas Elliman’s Retail Group, writes the "Faithful Food" column for Total Food Service. Ms. Consolo is a leading retail broker and advisor who covers the national market. She is a specialist ranging from fine restaurants to fashionable fast foods. "To find the best retail space, You Need Faith." Email her at