Brooklyn alone contains about 15 million square feet of light manufacturing space. However, "[b]uilt at the turn of the last century, many of them lack basic amenities like central air-conditioning and automated elevators," writes New York Times' Ronda Kaysen. "As New York City bleeds manufacturing jobs to cheaper markets, persuading companies to stay is, at best, difficult."
Compounding aging infrastructure, the city carries some of the highest rents in the nation, at around $13.16 a square foot, versus a national average of $4.47, and only $5.14 in neighboring New Jersey.
Still, the city and some developers are hoping to retain and lure new, more nimble, manufacturing firms to the city. According to Kaysen, "Three of the area's biggest properties are undergoing makeovers: Industry City, a rambling 6.5-million-square-foot complex off the Gowanus Expressway, which has been reaching out to small food manufacturers to capture some of the energy of the Brooklyn artisanal food scene; Federal Building No. 2, now renamed Liberty View Industrial Plaza, which is in the midst of a $40 million renovation and may soon open a Bed Bath & Beyond; and the city-owned Brooklyn Army Terminal."