Kickstarter Furthers Brooklyn’s Tech Boom!
Fellow Greenpointer Nathaniel Ziering tipped me off that Kickstarter is moving their headquarters from Manhattan to Greenpoint! The fast growing company provides crowd-sourced funding for creative projects, many of which have come from Greenpoint. In March, plans were approved for Kickstarter to renovate 58 Kent Street, a Landmarked, vacant building located between Franking & West streets. As you can see from the picture, this one could really use a tune-up! Kickstarter’s move to Greenpoint is a big vote of confidence for the neighborhood, will be great for the local economy and continue the momentum of businesses choosing Brooklyn as their new home.
According to the NY Post, tech firms in Brooklyn raised $50 million in the last quarter alone. Charlie O’donnell, founder of the seed-stage investment firm Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, now considers Brooklyn “a viable place to build and scale a tech company”. Kickstarter certainly got the message and is only the latest tech firm to de-camp to Brooklyn – following all of their employees, one would guess!
Just this week, the Daily News reported that Downtown Brooklyn is teeming with tech start-ups fleeing high Manhattan rents. And creative firms are increasingly planting roots in Brooklyn as well. In May, the influential branding firm Cerandi announced that they are moving their headquarters from Manhattan to neighboring Williamsburg. Add this to the growing number of coworking spaces such as Greenpoint’s The Yard & just-opened Green Desk and, for many Brooklynites, the work commute to Manhattan just might fall by the wayside.
Kickstarter’s new headquarters at 58 Kent has been vacant for years and was designated a Landmark in 2007 as part of the five-building complex that was once the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company Factory. Kickstarter hired architect Ole Sondresen for the challenging adaptive re-use project and he certainly delivered because the Landmark Commission unanimously approved his design.
In fact, the Landmarks vice chair called the project a “model for restoration in many ways”. Ole’s design includes a new rooftop addition clad in oxidized metal, a new interior glass courtyard and new windows & doors on the Kent St facade with corten steel frames! Who knew that reading the Landmarks approval could be so exciting?
Other juicy tidbits unearthed include the building address etched in glass and a brass intercom. Those sticklers at Landmarks love the little touches and Ole’s work has got it all in the details! Council Member Stevin Levin and Community Board 1 also signaled support for the design, but flashy renderings are still being kept under wraps – both Kickstarter and Ole Sondresen declined to comment for this story.
The area surrounding 58 Kent has been getting busier every day and Kickstarter’s 50 employees will definitely add to the bustle. They’ll no doubt enjoy the fantastic pizza, great beer store, bars, wine, shopping, bakeries and eventually a waterfront park! Work has gotten underway on the extensive project, though no word yet on a completion date. Once Kickstarter does move in, other tech firms will surely be tempted to follow. To track the renovation’s progress, check out Nathaniel’s blog Building Kickstart.