Back in February, Russ & Daughters announced that it was opening a multipurpose space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in a World War II-era building that’s undergoing a $185 million renovation. Today, we got to tour the construction site with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Niki Russ Federman, a fourth generation co-owner of the beloved Lower East Side appetizing shop.
“Russ & Daughters has been an anchor on the Lower East Side of New York for 100 years,” said Russ Federman, “where my great-grandfather stood on the streets of the Lower East Side with a barrel of herring so he could eventually open up a store. So we’ve been fully meshed in the Lower East Side and the Navy Yard feels like another amazing community that we’re going to be a part of. There’s this incredible synergy of food-makers, designers, furniture craftsman, roboticists.”
Russ Federman estimates Russ & Daughters’ Navy Yard operation will be running by February of next year. The company will occupy nearly 18,000 square feet of the building. While there will be a bagel and lox takeout counter, the bulk of the space will be used for food-making operations.
David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, said the goal of the nonprofit, which manages the city-owned site, is to support the expansion of high-paying manufacturing jobs in the city.
Mayor Bill de Blasio presided over a ceremony to celebrate the opening of Building 77, which will have over one million square feet of space. Building 77, located at Flushing and Vanderbilt avenues, will be the centerpiece of a plan to add over two million square feet of space and 10,000 well-paying jobs at the Yard by 2020, de Blasio said. The mayor mentioned Russ & Daughters, which is opening its first retail outlet outside of Manhattan, in his speech. “Some companies, some restaurants, some delis represent the fullest truth of New York culture – they are a part of who we are and they are indispensable,” he said. “There’s something very exciting for Brooklyn to have Russ & Daughters come to Brooklyn. This is a big moment for all of us.”
Other tenants include Catbird, a boutique jewelry manufacturer; Light Up!, a lighting manufacturer and designer; Situ Studio, a metal fabricator. The apparel firm Lafayette 148 is also moving its entire operation to Brooklyn from SoHo.
Russ Federman said she believes the Yard will become a hub around which future well-paying jobs will be created. “There’s an ecosystem here at the Navy Yard that is totally unique that enables companies like ours to create good jobs,” Russ Federman said. “That is very hard to do in New York with just real estate pressures and space limitations.”