East New York Activates Vital Space for Business Owners

New Lots Ave

Small business history will be made on December 13 at the ?ARTsPLOTION: Holiday Tree Lighting? in the East New York community of Brooklyn, N.Y. The tree lighting ceremony began six years ago, but this year?s will also serve as the soft opening of the re New Lots Market and Artist Incubator, an initiative championed by local economic developers and community revitalization advocates.

The market and incubator occupy two lots of land that have been vacant for 30 years. Artists can rent a studio for $300 a month, while retailers and other entrepreneurs can rent a store space for $420 a month. A more formal, grand opening is slated for March 2015.

?The Economic Development Corporation for New York City came up with a novel idea, and that is to activate sites but to lease them instead of putting them up for sale. We?re making history tomorrow because, conceptually, we have a business incubator and an arts incubator using organic, modular construction – cargo containers used as vendor space in an at-risk community,? William ?Bill? Wilkins, director of economic development, Local Development Corporation of East New York (LDCENY), told TNJ.com. ?This is the type of programming that is usually reserved for your more affluent neighborhoods, like DUMBO, Williamsburg and Fort Greene. But if we are successful, this can be the model for economic development in any community where there is government-owned land in an urban, distressed area.?

Wilkins says the initiative will allow business owners to move their home-based operations into a quasi brick-and-mortar environment that will not cost them thousands of dollars. Moreover, the location?s close proximity to a subway train station will yield the volume of foot traffic from which retail businesses would benefit.

Supported by several non-profit partners, including LDCENY and ARTs East New York, the multipurpose venue will house food vendors, educational activities, apparel manufacturers, a holistic nail salon, a performance space for artists, and even a public space to show outdoor movies.?

?Think of the economics behind it. As a vendor, you get to move out of your home and onto a retail strip. It?s a capital-intensive, intermediary step to help fortify someone, incubate them and prepare them to move to Atlantic Avenue or Fulton Street or wherever they hope to one day house their business,? explains Wilkins.?

The tree lighting and market/incubator launch ceremony includes live performances and complimentary hot beverages and toy giveaways. It takes place on Saturday, December 13, 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., at 170 New Lots Avenue, Brooklyn.