Our neighborhood blocks north of Myrtle have been getting some attention in recent days, both at Curbed
and The Real Deal
, much of it due to the recent announcement of the winners of HPD's Brig Site RFP
and the expansion of Steiner Studios timed for late summer. While much of this attention strives to compare a future Wallabout to a current day DUMBO by speculating that the handful of large manufacturing buildings could someday become luxury housing, the fact of the matter is that these blocks between Park and Flushing Avenues are not the "industrial wasteland" that The Real Deal states. While we can appreciate the fun in speculating where the "next DUMBO" will be, the majority of Wallabout's buildings are occupied by a diverse mix of manufacturers, food distributors, industrial designers, artists, and warehousing companies, from Sweet'N Low
to small furniture makers. While the area truly is a mixed-use zone in many senses of the term, it is currently zoned for manufacturing and is still viable as a manufacturing zone with a lot of the necessary infrastructure already in place. After all, Flushing Avenue is a designated truck route, there's easy access to the BQE, it borders the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the subway access isn't great - none of which make for a destination residential district.
With the planned CB2 rezoning intentionally excluding these blocks from its scope, and the Mayor's Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses likely to oppose any BSA variances for viable manufacturing space, we see this area more likely expanding on its current mixed-use foundation, with job growth coming from businesses that compliment Steiner Studios, specialty food manufacturers, industrial designers, and artists already based in the general vicinity of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
We'll be completing a survey of the existing manufacturers based in the area this coming summer in order to get a more accurate count of the number of firms and employees in Wallabout, so check back then for more info.
For those interested in more of the history and architecture of the area, check out our Wallabout Cultural Resource Survey.