The first panel delved into strategies for attracting the next generation of office users, moderated by Jim Somoza of Industry City, with panelists David Lombino of Two Trees Management and Megumi Tamanaha of Architecture Research Office (ARO). The real estate reps highlighted the shift in tenant preferences, noting the popularity of smaller spaces near residential neighborhoods, like DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn, and the necessity for high quality amenities. Additionally, there is an emphasis on the importance of flexibility in lease terms for small, non-credit tenants. ARO, who recently moved to Downtown Brooklyn from Manhattan, emphasized the role design plays in making a space feel unique and comfortable, and the advantages of being able to custom design a raw space to suit a company’s unique needs.
The second panel focused on workforce development and talent access. Moderated by Kei Hayashi of BJH Advisors, the panel featured Austin Evarts of NYU Urban Future Lab, Aaron Shiffman of Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, and Dan Bengyak of Brightcore Energy. Easily accessible locations are key in attracting and retaining talent, as are collaborations with academic institutions like City Tech and NYU. Filling skills gaps through partnerships with local educational institutions can provide necessary training, while introductions, events, and collaborations best serve to boost startup success. The panelists, many working in the climate tech sector, used Local Law 97 as a policy example that can drive public and private sector collaboration to address workforce needs and drive business development and job creation.