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Everything old is soon to become new again, if a proposed zoning framework allows developers to create the Brooklyn Special Innovation District.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Dumbo Business Improvement District and the Brooklyn Navy Yard have joined forces with a vision to convert industrial buildings into combined space for both residents and high-tech firms to occupy.

The project’s cornerstone is four blocks of decrepit factories and warehouses along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. By repurposing them, the alliance expects to create over a million square feet of space. That represents approximately 60% of the total space available in Dumbo.

Demand is high in Brooklyn for both high-tech offices and residential space as more and more Manhattanites are drawn to the borough’s more affordable housing.

Chairman of the Dumbo Business Improvement District, Tom Montvel-Cohen, points out that the high-tech firms of today make much better neighbors than their industrial predecessors. Gone are the smokestacks, noise and pollution. “It could even be good because these firms have events and meet-ups,” he says. “They’re almost an amenity for the residents.”

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