Industry City in Sunset Park, at 450 companies, finds tenants are its ‘biggest advocates’

The warehouse by the sea has evolved into Sunset Park’s major commercial and artistic destination.

Industry City is home to 450 companies, including Motivate, the company that oversees CitiBike; the Brooklyn Nets, who announced they will relocate their corporate office to the facility next year; ABC Carpet and Brooklyn Kitchen.

Conde Nast has recently signed a lease for more than 6,300 square feet for a kitchen and video studio for its food titles, the Real Deal reported this week.

Currently Industry City has 6,500 employees, more than triple the number in 2013. The 6.5 million-square-foot space also hosts free weekend events from art shows to yoga.

“The waterfront park was in the center of our community,” said Jeremy Laufer, district manager for Brooklyn Community Board 7. “It’s giving people reasons to come down to the waterfront.”

The facility was originally named Bush Terminal, and the 40-acre lot catered to the rail shipping industry during the early 20th century and contained 12 buildings. As shipping companies took their businesses to other coastal cities, the space lost many of its commercial businesses, but it attracted artists who needed room to work.

When developers Jamestown and Belvedere Capital decided to revamp the space in 2013, they wanted to mix both the business and art worlds, according to Kathe Chase, director of leasing.

“The mission is to keep it alive 24/7,” she said.

Chase said startups and larger companies have been enticed by the facility’s size and adaptability for a variety of uses such as offices, factories, design space or light manufacturing. As part of the $250 million invested in the space so far, the developers created several amenities that would make Industry City more than just a workspace.

The development includes a five-acre courtyard, built on the same space as the old rails, a 40,000 square-foot food hall and spaces for pop-up events, such as concerts.

“This is obviously appealing to the experience here. It attracts companies and people who want to visit here,” Chase said.

Laufer said the free activities, including the ongoing “Summer Spree” set of free events from Brooklyn Bowl, Rooftop Films and other groups, are bringing new faces to the area and neighborhood. He added that restaurants and stores on Third Avenue are taking advantage of the bigger crowds.

“I’ve seen some businesses that existed before the most recent investment have new entrances, new facades and catering to workers and people who are shopping and visiting,” he said.

Chase said some entrepreneurs still have misconceptions about Industry City’s distance from Manhattan and the transportation to Sunset Park. She noted that it’s only a block away from the D, N, and R trains and Manhattan is a 15-mintue ride.

Word-of-mouth will promote this notion, Chase said. “Our biggest advocates are our tenants.”