|Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center 1155 Manhattan Avenue|
|GMDC Commercial Street Facade|
After the factory closed the buildings fell into a state of disrepair and by the 1970s the structures had damage ranging from broken windows to collapsing roofs. The city took ownership of the property in 1972 when the owner, Grossen Dye Works, failed to pay their taxes. In the years that followed, the city attempted to market the property to real estate developers and when they were uninterested developing the site the city considered demolishing the buildings.
|Looking Into the Courtyard of the GMDC Complex|
In 1992 Mr. Niswander, the head of the tenants group and David Sweeny, the director of economic development for the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, incorporated the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center. The GMDC applied to buy the complex from the city in order to create an Incubator for local artists and craftsman. After a series of battles with city agencies the complex was sold to the GMDC for $1 and city promised to set aside $1 million for safety improvements.
Today the GMDC stands as a model for urban revival and economic development and is the only non-profit industrial developer in New York City. The organization's goals are to keep rents affordable for artists and artisans and to preserve light industry in urban areas by acquiring, developing and managing industrial real estate for small to medium sized manufacturing enterprises. In addition to affordable rent, the GMDC provides job training and a communal environment, creating a competitive edge for its tenants. Among the list of tenants are furniture makers, fine artists, graphic artists, film makers and interior designers.
Those familiar with north Brooklyn may recognize other GMDC buildings in various neighborhoods. In addition to the building complex at 1155 Manhattan avenue pictured here, the GMDC managed buildings include buildings at: 221 McKibbin Street (Bushwick, adjacent to the infamous McKibbin Lofts), 810 Humboldt Street (Williamsburg), 7 St. Nicholas Avenue (Bushwick) and 1102 Atlantic Avenue (Crown Heights). Although, not included in GMDC's list of buildings, according to a Daily News article from December of 2000, the GMDC was to lease and renovate the Pencil Factory building at 37 Greenpoint Avenue.
|GMDC Waterfront Seen from Long Island City|
- Prud'homme, Alex "Off the Urban Rust Heap, a Factory Goes to Work" New York Times. 10 January, 1999.
- "The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center" Untapped Cities. Online.11 May, 2012.
- "Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center - Buildings" gmdconline.org
- Allen, Michael "Penciling in new firms for old factory" Daily News. 27 December, 2000.