The past, present and future of the Brooklyn Navy Yard came together at Thursday's unveiling of Building 92—an exhibition, visitor and job training center that will officially open to the public on Friday at Flushing and Carlton avenues.
"The Brooklyn Navy Yard is not only the busiest industrial park ... it's also about working families, it's about people," said Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, D-Brooklyn. "And the message today is that we're are opening the gates, opening the doors and welcoming everyone."
Costing $25.6 million in city, state and federal funds, the new Building 92 consists of 9,300 square feet of renovated space in a building designed in 1857 by Thomas U. Walter, who was one of the architects to work on the U.S. Capitol.
Built by the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp., the complex is perhaps the most visible sign of the Navy Yard's transformation from an aging, outmoded industrial outpost into a model of economic development.
"The Navy Yard has always been a major employer in our city during both war and peace," Bloomberg said at a ceremony attended by city, state and Congressional representatives. "And that was true at the Navy Yard's birth when some our nation's first fighting ships were made, right here."
Bloomberg noted that at the height of WWII, 70,000 men and women worked around the clock at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
And while even a resurgent Navy Yard will not even come close to matching that level of activity, backers pointed to Building 92 as the latest example of a citywide effort at sustainable job creation.
According to Bloomberg, 300 jobs will be created as a result of the Building 92's opening—with preference given to residents of public housing and veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Elected officials including Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Velazquez praised BNYDC president Andrew Kimball for knitting together the industrial park's post-war past with what project boosters hoped would be its high-tech future as a center of film production, medical lab processing and 'green' industries.
"This is proof that there is a bright future for modern manufacturing in this city," said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steele.