Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Give Remarks At The Opening Of Building 77 At The Brooklyn Navy Yard

November 9, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio: I could immediately tell that Mabel grew up in New York City because she was quick to take the opportunity to market her fashion line there. Mabel, you are a born New Yorker so you know how to sell, you know how to market, well done.

I love your story. I love your story because it is a New York success story. And I’m also a Brooklynite so I love to see a Brooklynite make good and I’m glad you are able to do it right here in Brooklyn. And Mabel just gave us, I think a perfect summary of what we want to see happen over and over and over again for people in this city, from all five boroughs – people who grew up here, worked hard and deserve opportunity, deserve to know they can stay in their own city and they can thrive here and they can bring up their family here.

So, Mabel, I really love that you started as an intern and worked your way up through the ranks. And I love that your family is still in Brooklyn and I love that your future and your company’s future is so bright. Let’s give Mabel another round of applause.

[Applause]

Now, Mabel’s part of one of the industries you are going to see represented here in this building. Fashion is going to have a presence here in this building, design, you’ll see design firms here, you’ll see robotics firms, you’ll see advanced manufacturing. But supremely important to all of us as New Yorkers, you will also see food manufacturing here and, really care about that.

[Applause]

And I want to say to all of the food companies – thank you all for being a part of this and I look forward to sampling your products over the years. But I want to do a special honorable mention because some companies, some restaurants, some delis represent the fullest truth of New York culture – they are part of who we are and they are indispensable and they have to preserved. And there is something very exciting for Brooklyn, in particular, to have Russ & Daughters come to Brooklyn – this is a big moment for all of us.

[Applause]

So, I’m kvelling at this point, this. The folks who helped make this possible – so many, so many people believed in what could happen here, believed it was worthy of a big investment, that big things could happen if we made a big investment. And I want to thank some of the architects of this success. I want to start with of course, our dynamic Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, thank you Alicia.

[Applause]

I want to thank, you heard from him before, my dear friend and he has done an outstanding job as chair of the Navy Yard Development Corporation, Hank Gutman, thank you for all you have done. 

[Applause]

Hank Gutman is a very good human being so he actually also gave credit where credit was deserved with his predecessor Alan Fishman, Alan thank you for everything that you got started here.
[Applause]

And you will hear from him in a moment but a special thank you to the President and CEO of the Navy Yard Development Corporation, David Ehrenberg, great job David.

[Applause]

And all of the elected officials who believed in this vision of investing to build jobs in this borough and this city – investing in the people of our borough and of our city. I want to thank Assembly-member Joe Lentol.

[Applause]

Councilmember Laurie Cumbo

[Applause]

Councilmember Steve Levin

[Applause]

And everybody who helped bring us to this day, thank you so much. It’s a very big day for Brooklyn – it’s a very big day for New York City because we are in a very big building. This is an extraordinary building. Building 77, you hear it, it sounds kind of anonymous on its face but when you, when you hear the facts, it’s extraordinary – a million square feet, that’s what this building has to offer, a million square feet, 16 stories high.

This building is going to be a difference maker for so many companies. It is going to give them the chance to live up to their dreams. And to create a whole lot more jobs in the process so this is really exciting and it is part of reaching the potential of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Brooklyn Navy Yard is one of the biggest success stories in New York City in the last few decades. And it needs to be told more and more. But the Brooklyn Navy Yard is far from done. And this is another step in the evolution and reaching the potential of the Navy Yard.

And it’s also a step towards something I talked about the other night. I am committed to making sure this city becomes fairer and fairer for all of its people. And I use the analogy the other night – I said we are already the safest big city in American we should be the fairest big city in America. That means opportunity for everyone. That means everyone can make it here – willing to work hard, you get an opportunity here, regardless of your background, regardless of your neighborhood, regardless of your zip code.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is a place where that happens every day but now it’s going to happen on a much bigger level. So I want you to think of it this way – Building 77 is one million square feet of new opportunity for every day New Yorkers, isn’t that exciting to think about?

[Applause]

What will it mean? It’s going to bring 3,000 new jobs to the Navy Yard – 3,000 new jobs.

[Applause]

Now, some people when they hear that they think – ‘oh that must be a long time away.’ No, that’s going to be in the next 18 months you’re going to see these jobs grow rapidly. What we believe in is not just creating jobs, but creating good paying jobs. I announced a plan for 100,000 good paying jobs because we want this city to be affordable for all New Yorkers, and we’re attacking the affordable housing crisis every day, but the other piece of the puzzle is to continue in every way we can to raise wages, raise benefits, create salaries that people can live on. And so our standard is simple – when we invest public money, we want to create a lot of jobs, we want to make sure more and more they’re higher paying jobs. They pay $50,000 or more, or they have a quick pathway to people reaching that level because if more and more New Yorkers can get to that level they can really enjoy their own city, they can support their own family, they can stay in the city that they have helped to make great.

That’s the vision we’re working on today. Now, Building 77 was one of our first economic development projects in this administration. Hank mentioned when we came here to initiate it, it’s just been a few years now, but it’s already bearing fruit. And it’s a very big deal because of what it says about the future of New York City as well. You know we lived through the reality of losing manufacturing in this city for decades, and a lot of people counted us out, and I love what Mabel said. This is an example of reasserting manufacturing in this city and in this country because it can be done here, and it should be done here. And we have to be smart about how we help manufacturing grow again because what does it mean? It means good paying jobs, stable jobs. It means the products that are created go right to the local market. They don’t come from thousands of miles away. That’s good for the environment, too.

There’s so much to recommend building a strong manufacturing sector again in this city, but this is going against decades of history. Because you literally have to go back many decades to have had a building of this size opened as a manufacturing facility. That’s something that would’ve been assumed to be a part of ancient history in this city, and that it would never be seen again, and yet we’re all standing here today in 2017 on the dawn of a new era where we bring these jobs back in real numbers and create a lot of opportunity for New Yorkers.

So it’s exciting, and I will tell you that good things require investment. They don’t always happen automatically, and this is something we believe in in this city – the City government making strategic investment to spark this kind of activity. So a $73 million investment by the City and key investments by Borough President Eric Adams and the City Council, and again thank you to Laurie Cumbo and Steve Levin for really supporting the Navy Yard. Give them another round of applause for that.

[Applause]

We invested so we could get to this day, and it’s going to create a lot more momentum, and it’s going to create a lot more focus on the Navy Yard and more and more businesses are going to want to come here and create jobs right here in Brooklyn. This will result ultimately as a whole vision of the Navy Yard – 10,000 more jobs over time and paying an average not only that level that we want to see minimum. We see the growth of the Navy Yard resulting in higher and higher paying jobs, averaging $70,000 a year in many cases. This is really something powerful for everyday families. So when you think about what’s happening here, you can also think about it as protecting the middle class, making sure the middle class can survive and can thrive in this city going forward.

The magic of New York City is that it’s a city for everyone. That people – whether you’re well off, you’re middle class, you’re working class, you’re lower income – it does not matter. We all ride the same subways. We all ride the same buses. We walk the same streets. We have to keep this a city for everyone, and this is an example of how we do it. Another really exciting thing is that one of the great new additions that we’ve made in this city in recent years that’s going to foster job creation but also just helping people get around and get out of the crowded roads and crowded subways is NYC Ferry, and there will be an NYC Ferry stop right here serving the people of the Navy Yard. That’s exciting for everyone.

[Applause]

So as we open the doors of Building 77, we open the doors of opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers. That’s the good news.

Now my friends, we have to maintain this progress, and as I’ve said to people lately – New York City, we all should be proud New York City is getting it right. New York City is creating opportunity all the time. The danger to our progress is not here. Unfortunately it’s 200 miles to our south down I-95, and what we’ve heard recently coming out of Washington in terms of the president’s tax plan unfortunately would really undermine the kind of progress we’re making right here.

And I’ll give you an example. The tax plan would eliminate the new markets tax credit and the historic tax credits. They meant $348 million in investment in the Navy Yard, so tools that are working that are creating economic progress, that are creating jobs might be taken away, and my message is simple. We need to fight that. We need to fight it with all we have. We cannot reach this point as a city where we’re now consistently creating more and more jobs. We have the highest number of jobs we’ve ever had in the history of this city, and we’re growing. We can’t see that progress undermined in our nation’s capital.

So my plea to everyone is if you believe in what’s happening here in the Navy Yard, if you believe that we need to create jobs for every kind of person, help us join in the fight to make sure we don’t end up with a federal tax plan that actually undermines economic progress for middle class and working class people.

I just want to say at the end a few words in Spanish with great, again, appreciation to everyone who has helped us to achieve this day and to reach this moment.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

A city that is fair for everyone.

With that, I want to bring forward and congratulate a man who has a lot to be proud of today, the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, David Ehrenberg.

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