The allure of Brooklyn, with lower rents and bigger floor plans than neighboring Manhattan, is one that many a New Yorker has felt. It’s what appealed to textile brand Cowtan & Tout, which, come February, will trade its Tribeca headquarters for a location in Industry City, a waterfront development in South Brooklyn that spans 16 buildings and 6 million square feet.
“When our lease was up, we considered a lot of options, but it was important to keep our operations and warehouse in the same facility,” says Cowtan & Tout CEO Key Hall. “Industry City had everything we were looking for—space that could work for a warehouse, a design studio and offices in addition to amenities like restaurants, gyms and even child care.”
Hall feels that in a post-COVID world, amenities and a great location will be more important than ever. “We needed an environment that was going to be appealing to people on a personal level, not just from a business standpoint,” she says. “We’re anticipating a very vibrant energy at Industry City, where people can do yoga after work or catch a concert or meet a friend for dinner. Those possibilities resonated with me.”
Composed of 35 acres of repurposed industrial space, Industry City is owned by Belvedere Capital, Angelo Gordon & Co and Jamestown, which also owns the Boston Design Center. The Jamestown connection was another selling point to the team at Cowtan & Tout, which has a showroom in the BDC. “We already know that they are good landlords,” says Hall.
Industry City leases space to some 550 companies in addition to more than 50 restaurants and retail businesses. Within that number are a high volume of design-centric makers and companies like Rebecca Atwood Designs, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Roll & Hill, Flavor Paper and Egg Collective, as well as outlets for both ABC Carpet & Home and RH, creating what Industry City has dubbed the Brooklyn Design District.
“The prevalence of design brands and makers happened organically at first, but we’ve been working with our tenant WantedDesign to cement Industry City as a hub for design creatives,” says Kathe Chase, the director of leasing at Industry City. “Consumers and designers alike can now spend the whole day here seeing everything from prestige textile brands like Cowtan & Tout to artisan furniture makers or candlemakers. You can make an appointment with a brand you know, but then there’s so much discovery possible as well.”
To Cowtan & Tout, joining the Brooklyn Design District was more of a perk than a selling point. “It’s nice to have that creative energy and be able to see friendly, familiar faces in the elevator,” says Hall. “But ultimately, we just felt that Industry City would be a wonderful community for our employees to come to work in every day.”