The Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Dock 72 offers a bright space for innovators

With sunny spaces to inspire creativity, The Yard’s first new commercial building in a decade will fuel the next generation of trailblazers

The Brooklyn Navy Yard celebrated the debut of its 16-story office building Dock 72 in October with a ribbon-cutting ceremony held by co-developers Boston Properties, Rudin Development, and WeWork. The new 675,000-square-foot building—which is the Yard’s first new commercial building in more than a decade—is replete with state-of-the-art amenities and magnificent views of the Manhattan skyline. The space is modern, but still makes many thoughtful allusions to the site’s storied past, including vintage cannons on the building’s lawn.

“It is an honor to come together with our partners to invest in an area that was historically home to the ship building industry and to transform it into a beautiful space that can facilitate the next wave of innovation in this great city,” said Sebastian Gunningham, co-CEO of WeWork. 

Besides Dock 72’s unique shape and structure, which was built on columns to withstand flooding in the event of a major storm, the luminousness of the building’s interior is the first thing to notice. The building is 550 feet long and 90 feet wide, which creates natural light throughout the entire space. No office is more than 20 feet from a window, making every workspace bright and airy.

The abundance of natural light evokes a sense of calm productivity that would serve a diverse range of work. Karen Young, CEO of women’s razor company Oui Shave, which moved from WeWork Dumbo Heights to Dock 72 on Oct. 1, says the new space has been a wonderful change for her team. “One of the things I love in particular about the Navy Yard is that it has a really vibrant energy of people working across an array of industries that we love being a part of.” Young adds that witnessing the work happening around her “gives us a nice boost of energy that I’m really appreciative of.”

Young says she’s lucky enough to walk to her new office space, though when it’s rainy out, she’ll hop on the Navy Yard’s free shuttle, which offers ride service from DUMBO and the Atlantic Terminal. Her new workspace has allotted her a new way of commuting, too: Young says the access to the ferry, which opened the new Navy Yard stop in May, has encouraged her to make more appointments in midtown Manhattan, where she’d rarely visit previously, since she can get off at 34th Street. “It’s such a fun way for a New Yorker who doesn’t usually use the ferry to commute,” she says.

Dock 72 and the greater Navy Yard area will fuel the next generation of tech innovators, product designers, and beyond, said David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation. “This ecosystem we’re trying to create is where we’re not a monoculture, and it’s not just one kind of company,” Ehrenberg said at the ribbon cutting. “It’s the diversity of the companies here that is our strength.”

Corporate tenants are renting more Brooklyn office space than they have in the past four years, the Wall Street Journal recently reported. A surge of tech, apparel, and media companies are finding new homes in the borough. Transportation is one key ingredient to making the Navy Yard and its surrounding area the place to be. Workers can commute by bus, car, bike, subway, and even ferry—thanks to a new stop that was built just for the building—making it one of New York’s most accessible office buildings, said Michael Rudin, senior vice president of Rudin Development. 

The Brooklyn Navy Yard began its existence as a shipbuilding facility established by President John Adams in 1801. Shipyards have been replaced by Dock 72’s outdoor basketball court, soon-to-be-opened food hall (with which restaurateur Danny Meyer is involved), hand-painted murals, and outdoor terraces. What’s remained the same, however, is that the hub provides a home to innovators who are shaping the future of the country. 

Kate Bratskeir is a writer for WeWork’s Ideas by We, focusing on sustainability and workplace psychology. Previously, she was a senior editor at Mic and HuffPost. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, HealthTravel & Leisure, Women’s Health, and more.

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