Exemplifying Shift in Brooklyn’s Business Community, Borough’s Top Advocate to Utilize 10,200 sq. ft. for Building Stronger, More Resilient Economy
Solidifying the emergence of key central business districts outside of traditional locations, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is moving to Industry City after more than 100 years operating from Downtown Brooklyn. The move by the Chamber reaffirms its role as the leading advocate for small businesses that drive Brooklyn’s economy, representing 62,000 businesses and half of the borough’s workforce.
Industry City’s 16-building, 6 million square-foot manufacturing and innovation campus located on the waterfront in Sunset Park will house the Chamber’s new 10,200 square-foot headquarters beginning in mid-July. The new office offers the organization a 30 percent space increase, providing ample room to grow and respond to the city’s unprecedented need for small business support services amid the financial fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chamber most recently helped launch a new loan program to revive Brooklyn’s economy targeting small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and People of Color with the Social Justice Fund, an effort made possible through a ten-year, $50 million commitment by the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation.
“Brooklyn’s economy is comprised of innovative small businesses, including many minority and immigrant-owned companies more typically found at Industry City and throughout every neighborhood across the borough,” said Randy Peers, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO. “Industry City is truly an economic engine for Brooklyn, and its diverse tenant mix of manufacturing, retail, hospitality, tech, fashion, design, and MWBEs reflects our business community. Plus, its vibrant, amenity-rich environment is strategic for attracting top minds and talent to the organization.”
“Simply said, having the Brooklyn Chamber as an anchor tenant at Industry City is a big deal and testament to our extraordinary growth as a small business mecca and hub for Brooklyn’s Innovation Economy,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City. “The Chamber has always been
a workforce development and small business services partner to Industry City and now, with their services on-site, the Chamber will be an even greater asset to our tenants helping countless small businesses thrive in their markets and reach new heights.”
As part of the move to its new home, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce announced enhancements to its “Good Help” small business staffing service that will complement existing programming at The Innovation Lab, Industry City’s community job training and entrepreneurship center that’s served 5,000 local job seekers with skills and career placement services and provided vital recruitment and growth planning support to local businesses. The Innovation Lab is run by a public-private partnership that includes Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, New York City’s largest youth workforce development agency, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, Center for Family Life and Brooklyn Workforce Innovations.
As a welcome gift to its new neighbors, the Chamber is launching a special affinity membership for all Industry City tenants who wish to take advantage of renown networking and promotional programs. It will also host its 2021 Annual Meeting and Trade Show at Industry City, one of the organization’s first significant in-person events of the year, which is expected to draw more than 400 attendees.–>
Since the redevelopment’s inception in 2013, Industry City has invested over $450 million to transform the property, growing the number of tenant businesses from 150 to 550 and jobs from 1,900 to 8,500 while leasing over 4 million square feet. Remarkably, from the start of COVID-19 in March 2020 to the end of the calendar year, Industry City leased over 500,000 square feet while supporting scores of its tenants through the worst of the pandemic. Leasing velocity in 2021 is on track to surpass 2020. Over 80%, or 450, of Industry City’s tenants are micro small businesses as defined by having fewer than ten employees or less than 2,500 square feet.
With its flexible floorplans that accommodate nearly any industry and business size, three outdoor courtyards totaling 85,000 square feet, near-constant cultural events, and 38+ specialty food and beverage vendors, businesses and organizations choose Industry City because of its built-in amenities and neighborhood feel.
In recent months, Industry City has announced a plethora of new tenants, such as Loeffler Randall, a Brooklyn-born fashion and accessories brand; Fundraise Up, an AI-powered fundraising platform for nonprofits; Ashya, a Brooklyn-based fashion accessories design and retail label; and Package Free, a sustainable consumer products brand.
As chambers of commerce across the country struggle to redefine their value proposition and engage in new service delivery models, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has transformed itself as a next generation entity through its Brooklyn App, digital marketplace and expanded international partnerships.
“Under the vision and leadership of President and CEO Randy Peers, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has reaffirmed its role as Brooklyn’s top voice and advocate for small businesses,” said Ana Oliveira, Senior Vice President, Investors Bank and Board Chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “This move represents a natural evolution that will enable the Chamber to position itself for the next 10 plus years of supporting business growth across the borough and driving Brooklyn’s economy forward.”
“As a Brooklyn-bred entrepreneur and small business owner, I’m inspired by the opportunities at Industry City to set roots for my brand, grow my network and create jobs that support the
community,” said Ashley Cimone, co-founder of Ashya, a travel accessories label which recently opened its first retail location at Industry City. “The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s on-site support will be an enormous help to continue setting and reaching our goals.”
“Industry City is truly a hub for innovation, design and creativity, and adding the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to that mix will be an incredible support for existing and future businesses,” said Susan Doban, Principal at Doban Architecture, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Board Treasurer and Industry City tenant.
“Industry City provides businesses a robust network of connections and partnerships right here in the neighborhood that are essential to getting off of the ground,” said Pat Whelan, co-owner of Sahadi’s, an award-winning specialty grocer and Industry City tenant. “Adding the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s resources will further enrich the tenant experience here at Industry City.”
“I am excited to join the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce at Industry City to expand their international programming and collaborations,” said Juhwan Paul Kang, founder of StepintoCity, a South Korean-affiliated international business accelerator that will be provided office space at Industry City through the Chamber. “After hosting a successful distribution of COVID-19 PPE from Korea last summer, and a more recent virtual trade show between Seoul and Brooklyn, we are poised to cultivate new international investments in the borough with the Brooklyn Chamber’s assistance.”
“Having the full on-site resources of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce at Industry City to continue growing and creating jobs in Sunset Park will be a boon for the South Brooklyn business community,” said Kenny Guan, President of the Guan Realty Corporation.