221 McKibbin Street

The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) is proud to add 221 McKibbin Street to its list of industrial centers. Located at the western edge of the North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone, 221 McKibbin Street represents a prime location for small industrial and artisanal uses. The area is home to start-up and established manufacturing companies, including food producers, printers, plastics manufacturers, garment makers and woodworkers. East Williamsburg has also seen an influx of designers and artisans in recent years.  The center lies within 2 blocks of the Montrose Avenue L train stop as well as a number of city bus lines. There is also access to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Williamsburg Bridge, and Midtown Tunnel.

  • Total Square Footage: 72,000
  • Unit Sizes: Between 1,100-7,000 SF
  • Tenancy: Light industrial and artisanal
  • Total Units: 19
  • Lease Term: 8 years
  • 4,000 lb. capacity freight elevator
  • Off-street truck loading dock

221 McKibbin Street represents GMDC’s first project to utilize New Markets and Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits, two underutilized financing tools in New York City’s economic development world. GMDC worked with three Community Development Entities — Citi Community Capital, Seedco, and United Fund Advisors – to put together the tax credit deal, which resulted in a total allocation of $17.1 million in New Markets Tax Credits leveraging a total project cost of $17.8 million. An analysis of the direct, indirect and induced economic impacts resulting from construction investment and the first ten years of operations shows that the McKibbin Street Industrial Center project is anticipated to create $181.0 million in total economic impacts, $19.7 million in federal and state fiscal impacts, 101 jobs during construction and create and maintain 136 jobs during the first 10 years of operations.

As a recipient of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, 221 McKibbin Street has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The renovation and restoration plan for the building was approved by the New York State Historic Preservation Office and the National Parks Service. The historic rehabilitation process included a complete restoration of the building’s brick façade, the restoration and replication of the building’s steel windows, and the restoration of the original Columbia Products show room.

Building History

The H. Lawrence & Sons Rope Works/Columbia Products Factory is a complex of nine buildings located at 221 McKibbin Street in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Constructed over the course of approximately 100 years, this complex of buildings reflects the industrial development of Brooklyn’s Eastern District, the northern portion of what is now the Borough of Brooklyn. 

At each step along the way, 221 McKibbin Street has reflected and been shaped by the dominant local industry.  When the oldest building on site was constructed in 1850 and extended in 1870, it housed a rope manufacturer, H. Lawrence & Sons Rope Works.  This section of the building was the spinning house and was attached to the rope walk, a 1,200’ structure that extended down the block and over the street to the east of the building.  Rope and cordage manufacture was a major industry in the Eastern District of Brooklyn through much of the 19th century and into the 20th century. As new technology developed in the 1870s and 1880s, rope manufacturers no longer needed very long structures to twist strands of spun hemp into rope, and the old ropewalks and spinning houses were abandoned. The spinning house of the H. Lawrence & Sons Rope Works is the last such structure known to survive in Brooklyn.

The H. Lawrence & Sons Rope Works complex has been in continuous use for industrial purposes. In the late 1870s, Lawrence & Sons ceased operations at McKibbin Street.  From ca. 1880 to ca. 1898, the former Lawrence factory was occupied by the S. Trier & Son cardboard manufactory. By 1901, the spinning house and extension were occupied by the Manhattan Leather Company; at about the same time, the complex began to be expanded to the north with the first of a series of one-story additions. Manhattan Leather was succeeded by Laitman & Laitman, another leather goods concern in the 1910s. The Laitman family controlled the site from about 1918 until the mid-1960s, and added six new structures to expand the complex to its current configuration. The family used the site for both leather goods manufacture and later as the Columbia Products Corporation, for the manufacture of cosmetic accessories. From the 1880s through the 1950s, the factory complex also housed a series of subtenants, including glass manufacturers and knitwear manufacturers. Since the 1960s, Casa Stradivari, a company that manufactured furniture for the hospitality industry, operated at 221 McKibbin St until they sold the building to GMDC in 2007.