The Brooklyn Army Terminal was built for war, and during World War II, it was the largest military supply base in the country, with its own railroad line and police and fire departments along what today is the Sunset Park waterfront.
But on a Saturday afternoon in September, children lined up for ice cream on the terminal steps. A little girl in a pink shirt reached for what appeared to be her fourth free sample of a chocolate-flavored waffle cone. Down by the ferry landing, two women sat on a wide platform that wrapped around a tree, sharing hummus and pita from one of the food trucks set up for the day. And at the parking lot at 58th Street and Second Avenue, which had been cleared to make a dance floor and outdoor venue for the day, couples and families waited for the rapper Busta Rhymes to take the stage later that evening.
The daylong event, celebrating the terminal’s 100th birthday, was part of an ongoing city effort to take this massive relic and retool it for the 21st century.
But in this case, the city, which owns the terminal, is not transforming the massive structure into a tech jobs hub; it’s leaving Amazon to do that in Queens. In Brooklyn, something arguably much more revolutionary is developing: a manufacturing hub.
“You’re competing with regional cities that have lower taxes and better tax abatements,” said Dan Marks, a partner at TerraCRG, a commercial real estate brokerage in Brooklyn.
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