This car did the 24-hour endurance race, 24 Heures du Mans in France (Carrie Dennis / Gothamist)
Williamsburg is a hotspot for all kinds of entrepreneurial endeavors, and starting next summer, the neighborhood will add artisanal racing cars to its portfolio. As part of Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC, an abandoned plot of land at 105 Metropolitan Avenue will become home to a race car consulting and design services group, including a small race car engine machine shop. The site, which was abandoned in the 1980s and contaminated with historic fill pollutants [pdf], was enrolled in the NYC Brownfield Cleanup Program last February and will end its 27-year-vacancy when Ethan Bregman, owner and engineer of Ayton Performance, moves in to develop the space.
Bregman, a native New Yorker, grew up fascinated by cars but never had a venue to explore that interest. Despite cheaper real estate in other parts of the country, Bregman is set on doing business in Brooklyn, and at a press conference today said that having a shop here in Williamsburg will give others the opportunity to pursue racing in a way that was not available to him while he was growing up. "New York is not only about Wall Street, but using our minds and hands," he says.
The Brownfield Cleanup Program encourages development of polluted or contaminated sites and offers complete environmental liability release as an incentive. Bregman received $85,000 in grants and bonuses for participating in the program. The hope is to instill confidence in investors or, as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz put it, create "jobs, jobs, jobs that are Brooklyn tough, pumping our Brooklyn swag!"
"If intellectual competency is part of your business plan, New York is the place to be," Mayor Bloomberg said of Bregman. "Smart people who want to compete with the best." The Mayor turned down the opportunity to test-drive the display car however, telling reporters, "It's been a long time since I've been in the front seat of a car." Helicopters are more his style.