One of most rewarding components of American Field is using historic event spaces: Buildings that fostered American industry long before there was a need for our event. For American Field Brooklyn, we’re honored to occupy Industry City. It’s a 120+-year-old space that (for the second time in its history) is contributing to a renaissance in our favorite NYC borough.
Developer Irving T. Bush laid the groundwork for today’s Industry City in 1895, setting forth to build a monumental intermodal manufacturing, warehousing and distribution center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The project, originally known as Bush Terminal, was designed to provide wholesalers in nearby Manhattan with an inexpensive location from which to import, export and manufacture goods.
Over the first part of the 1900s, Industry City thrived based on its prime location, tremendous scale and an innovative integrated structure that provided top-tier industrial services, including an internal police force, fire department, rail network and power plant, to tenants large and small. At its peak during the industrial height of the early 20th Century, the complex became one of the most prominent and successful facilities of its type worldwide, employing nearly 25,000 workers.
In the post-war years of the 1950s, when a changing manufacturing landscape saw a general abandonment of urban industrial properties nationwide, Industry City’s economic might diminished, but never completely dissipated. In fact, the legendary Topps Baseball Card company manufactured its products at Industry City through the mid-1960s.
Over the past few decades, Industry City has been plagued by structural changes in the manufacturing economy, the relocation of maritime traffic to New Jersey, and a deteriorating and antiquated infrastructure that had rendered the property virtually obsolete for its intended industrial use. The entire complex was in urgent need of substantial capital investment simply to maintain the day-to-day operations of systems and mechanicals – including elevators and electricity. That is, until August 2013, when a new ownership team recapitalized the property.
Leading the charge was American Field Sponsor Jamestown L.P.
Today, Industry City is on the cusp of a rebirth as a dynamic 21st Century innovation and manufacturing community—one that balances existing manufacturing tenants with those centered on creative and innovation economy fields. The property’s owners are currently transforming the ground floor and lower levels into a pedestrian-friendly series of shops, showrooms, event spaces and courtyards, loosely organized around themes such as food production, children and family, and design and home goods, while providing ample loading docks and service ground for upper floor innovation economy and manufacturing tenants.
While this transformation ushers in the next great phase of Industry City’s existence, the complex continues to emphasize its rich industrial heritage through an authentic aesthetic expression that is at once historical, referential and progressive.
We are humbled to add our names to the list of extraordinary businesses that have used the space before us, and look forward to future collaboration with Jamestown L.P.