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In Brooklyn's Navy Yard, a New Manufacturing Incubator

New Lab repurposes a gritty shipbuilding warehouse, giving manufacturing startups the support that software firms get from your typical incubator.
September 27, 2016, 5am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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The startup incubator isn't a new concept anymore, but its usual clients tend to lean digital. In New York City's New Lab, small high-tech manufacturers can find "the kind of connections and shared resources that make software startups successful."

New Lab is an 84,000-square-foot facility renovated from the cavernous husk of a Navy Yards shipbuilding site. It represents the city's bet that innovation in manufacturing can still take place in the Big Apple, despite economies of scale that lead most companies elsewhere. Patrick Sisson writes, "The 10-month redesign cost roughly $30 million, $12 million of which was public support and tax credits from the city and state."

David Belt, the developer who spearheaded this public-private effort, wanted to do something different with the space. "He was inspired by the multidisciplinary ideals of famous schools such as Bauhaus and Black Mountain College, seeking to create a collaborative workspace that doesn't look like a stale, Silicon Valley stereotype," adds Sisson. 

Roughly 30 companies currently work out of New Lab, and there's room for up to 60. The end goal is manufacturing-based economic development. From the article: "Producers [...] that make specialized, limited-run products don't benefit as much from the economies of scale that often send business to China, and instead need quick, efficient, and local work-for-hire." 

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Published on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 in Curbed
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