Launch for new technological think tank in Brooklyn Navy Yard
by Andrew Shilling
May 15, 2013 | 1108 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The first phase of the Brooklyn Navy Yard technological transformation is complete.

Macro Sea, Inc., a New York State real estate developer, launched an 8,000-square-foot Beta Space to provide a think tank atmosphere for New Lab, the 84,000-square-foot poster child for the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Green Manufacturing Center.

The center is an adaptation of buildings 28, 123 and 128 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation’s plan to provide 215,000 square feet of workspace for a variety of designers, engineers, entrepreneurs and academics.

New Lab will account for $21 million of the $60 million project set for completion in 2015, with private and public donors like Private Equity, New York State Regional Council, the New York City Council and the Historic Tax Credit equity.

David Belt, president and founder of Macro Sea and managing partner of New Lab, has previously held managerial development roles in the San Francisco International Airport Terminal, as well as the Bear Sterns headquarters at 383 Madison St.

“We put together a group of tenants that include engineering firms, firms that make everything from spoons to cranial implants to robotic lamps to people who run a school called One Lab,” Belt said.

He explained that his concept for the new building will not only utilize cutting edge technology like three-dimensional printers and digital manufacturing techniques, but the facility will aid in bridging the gap between conceptualizing to manufacturing on site.

“That is a pretty profound idea that is going to happen right here at the New Lab,” he said. “Advance manufacturing is an industry that will flourish in the collaborative environment and access to production materials and machinery that New Lab will provide its tenants.”

Eric Forman, of Interactive Art and Design, has been working in digital media for over 20 years and now uses the new Beta Space for his artwork, which combines fine art, design and robotics.

“Having the means to produce stuff in the same space that I am coming up with the ideas will make a big difference,” Foreman said. “Previously, when you would come up with an idea you’d build the prototype part of it, and to really build in quantity you had to do that elsewhere. If you didn’t want to lose money, you had to do it in Asia.”

While working in close proximity to other creative minds, Foreman explained the space is unique in fostering his ability to come up with new ideas and carry them through.

“I love the fact that I can make stuff working around all these people with expertise in different fields,” he said. “Part of it is professional, but also I will get jobs that I need other people to do and I can decide how to collaborate. I will also get clients that I wouldn’t otherwise get on my own.”

Speaker Christine Quinn and the City Council are among the long list of financial backers on the project, accounting for part of the $18 million in public support for New Lab and the Green Manufacturing Center.

“When we are back here in 2015 to cut the ribbon of the new lab, we will know that we have taken the unemployment rate down,” Quinn said. “By the brilliance of the individuals here who are taking ideas, putting them into action and creating jobs for New Yorkers that will make our country a safer, better, smarter and healthier place.”

Borough President Marty Markowitz said he was hopeful that the project would inspire growth and stimulate the future economy of the country.

“What’s going on here is the template, prototype for urban manufacturing for today and in the future,” Markowitz said. “The country that ruled in the delivery of energy is the country that is going to produce the jobs of tomorrow because everything we envision needs energy.”

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