For the 10-member team behind the new Brooklyn Expo Center, opening the public assembly venue this fall is about meeting customer demand for increased event space and fulfilling the needs of its community rather than competing with existing venues.
“We had demand for a larger venue to conduct tradeshows, fashions shows and corporate events. We were not able to fill it. Previously, our largest space was 5,000 square feet,” explained Uri Zucker, property manager, Brooklyn Expo Center LLC. “Our company was looking for something at least 25,000 square feet.”
Although the multi-phase project is opening with 28,000 square feet of exhibition space on a yet to be announced date in the fall, the end goal of developer Pearl Realty Management is to have a total of 40,000 square feet of exhibition space available by the second phase.
“We don’t have a date set for the second phase, but it’s an attached space. During the second phase, there will be more meeting rooms, storage space and a loading zone. We will build as the clients come and they tell us what they need,” Zucker stated.
Currently undergoing construction in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Greenpoint, the venue is expected to host 50 events its first year and possibly 100 the following year, according to Zucker, but so far, Brooklyn Expo Center LLC hasn’t pre-booked events.
“We have sent out contracts, and we have multiple companies considering using the space,” Zucker added. “We spoke to a few people who would like to host events for the community. In some cases, we’ll donate the space for free or charge a minimum fee. It will be great for the community to have a place for their activities.”
Eyeing the venue for event consideration, according to Zucker, are creative and crafty Brooklyn natives, chefs, a tattoo company and a corporate magazine, among others.
“The building has glass all around, so it feels like you’re outside. If the weather is bad or raining, it’s nice to be inside the space. The 26,000 square-foot parking lot can be used for consumer and outdoor events,” he said.
Owning and overseeing the upcoming venue, Brooklyn Expo Center LLC is an offshoot of Dumbo Loft LLC, which manages five event spaces in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Dumbo and Williamsburg. Utilizing Greenpoint, considered to be one of Brooklyn’s best neighborhoods, Pearl Realty Management’s Jack Guttman is developing the venue in Greenpoint Terminal Market, a district home to 1,000 businesses.
“[Our] company owned the space before, and it became available in the last six months or so. There is Javits in Manhattan, but there are not a lot of [exhibition] spaces in Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is the fourth largest city in the U.S.,” Zucker stated.
Since word spread about the facility, Brooklyn Expo Center has drawn comparisons to Jacob K. Javits Convention Center due to Brooklyn’s proximity to Manhattan.
“We are smaller, and Javits is much bigger. They are in Manhattan, and we are in Brooklyn. People complain about the fees for the extras [at Javits]. We rent [our] space as blank space; people can choose their own vendors, catering, lighting and furniture. Some venues make you choose their vendors. We let [customers] have flexibility and shop around for the right prices,” he said.
Aside from their all-glass exteriors, similarities between Javits Convention Center and Brooklyn Expo Center end, considering Javits is home to 840,000 square feet of exhibition space. Zucker said he doesn’t view the other facility as competition.
“We’re new to the business; we don’t feel there is competition. Maybe existing spaces feel there is competition. There is nothing about us that is similar to other venues. In Brooklyn, there are hotels [with meeting space], but hotels are different than hosting an event in a commercial building,” he explained.
The team behind Brooklyn Expo Center LLC and Dumbo Loft LLC entered the event arena in 2008, hosting weddings and other events at The Dumbo Loft. This team also runs The Dumbo Spot, The W Loft, The Greenpoint Loft and its newest, 26 Bridge. As their business grows with the addition of the Brooklyn Expo Center, they hope to expand their team, according to Zucker.
For more information about Brooklyn Expo Center, visit brooklynexpocenter.com.