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Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center, A Place that Matters

greenpoint manufacturing design center Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center (GMDC) – the premier not-for-profit industrial developer in New York City – was one of ten New York City places honored by Place Matters at its tenth anniversary and awards ceremony in May of this year. GMDC, located at 1155 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, was celebrated for creating a vital gathering space. The organization has rehabilitated five vacant North Brooklyn manufacturing buildings for occupancy by small manufacturing enterprises, and a historic spinning house is currently in the process of restoration. Rehabilitation of these buildings has made more than 700,000 square feet of space available for 100-plus tenants, triggering the preservation and creation of over 500 blue collar jobs. greenpoint manufacturing design centerThe first and largest of these projects was the gut renovation of the former Chelsea Fiber Mills, a marine rope factory built in 1868. By the 1970s, the complex was abandoned, resulting in a tax foreclosure by the city. In collaboration with a nonprofit group, existing tenants, the city, and local elected officials, GMDC purchased the property in 1994. As The New York Times reported, “Every time you open a door, it’s a new story. You could wander in here for a week, and every person you meet is speaking a different language and doing something different.” Indeed, manufacturing spaces and factories with their open floor plans and sturdy construction are highly adaptable to varied uses. The upcoming MAS program Recycling New York’s Industrial Past: Inspiration from Home and Abroad, on Wednesday, October 22, will focus on industrial retention and adaptive reuse as a means of preserving industrial buildings, illustrated with imaginative projects from near and far, including the Austin, Nichols, & Co. warehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Click here for more information and ticketing details for this program. GMDC is a leader in sustainable business models, and the topic of sustainable businesses will be discussed at an upcoming program sponsored by the Center for the Urban Environment (headquarters of the Sustainable Business Network NYC), titled Being Your Own Pied Piper: How the Songs of Local Businesses are Preserving the Economy. The program will be held on Thursday, October 16, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., at 168 7th St., Brooklyn, (between 2nd & 3rd aves.). Seating is limited. RSVP by 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, to vknight@bcue.org. To see the other 2008 Place Matters honorees, log on to Place Matters and select the homepage link. For the full list of featured places to date, log on to the Place Explorer and choose the Featured Search called “Place that Matters of the Week.” Please tell your friends about these places of history, memory, and culture and invite them to join the Place Matters e-mail list.