Manufacturing the World into a Better Place: Wesley H. Watson Industrial Center Opens

Evergreen: Your North Brooklyn Business Exchange opens multi-tenant building at 500 Stagg Street

Exec. Dir. Leah Archibald (center) of Evergreen cuts the ribbon for the Wesley H. Watson Industrial Center at 500 Stagg with her staff (l to r) Gabriel Lefferts, Natalie Vichnevsky, Stephen Fabian, Karen Nieves, and Emil Fraija Photo Credit Lori Ann Doyon

After thanking an impressive list of supporters, Leah Archibald, executive director of Evergreen: Your North Brooklyn Business Exchange said, “Thank you to the board at Evergreen, for their wisdom and guidance when it looked like things weren’t looking so good, they really believed in us.” She paused to take a breath after being gut punched by a wave of grief which surfaced when she started to address the building’s namesake.  “But no one believed in us as much as our board treasurer, Wes Watson. I’m really sorry he is not with us today.”  (Wesley Watson passed away in August 2021.) “In honor of Wes and his contributions we are dedicating this achievement to him and we are christening it the Wesley H. Watson Industrial Center.  So thank you guys for joining us in this amazing kickoff for our 40th anniversary celebration and the grand opening of 500 Stagg: the Wesley H. Watson Industrial Center!”

The multi-tenant manufacturing facility at 500 Stagg Street holds three spaces with a shared loading dock for all. Space A is approximately 1865 sq ft; Space B is 2935 sq ft, and Space C is 2871 sq ft. Each unit has some additional storage space and the ceiling height is approximately 17.5 ft. Units include their own bathroom, slop sink, and moveable bike rack. The building has been renovated to vanilla box state with all new fixtures, a brand new concrete slab floor throughout, upgraded roof and utilities, new demising walls and insulation, refurbished masonry, and is ADA compliant.

LEERFORM takes a turn at cutting the ribbon for the Wesley H. Watson Industrial Center at 500 Stagg Street. (l to r) Natalie Vichnevsky (Evergreen), Wyatt Nash (LEERFORM), Doug Young (LEERFORM), Wendy Hesslink (LEERFORM) and on the far right. Stephen Fabian (Evergreen)

The first tenant of this industrial center is LEERFORM. They provide creative solutions to the greater NYC arts community in serving museums, galleries, and individual artists via their logistical and fabrication efforts for exhibits, travel, and storage. “It’s been a journey for us as well. We’ve been wanting to move in here for about three years now and it’s finally happening.  We have a space just down the block and this additional space will allow us to reach our goals, which Evergreen has been a partner in for every step of the way,” said Doug Young of LEERFORM.

We need to stop moving away from this idea that residential development is economic development, because it is not. We have to stop encroaching on the manufacturing sector and start protecting it. 

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso
We fell extremely short through COVID of being capable of supplying ourselves … we had to pay a premium or we couldn’t get it. We can do all that here in New York and the United States of America if we only start reemphasizing the importance of manufacturing spaces,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso Photo Credit Lori Ann Doyon.

“You’re as good as your team, and it’s a very important thing, but there is arguably no better leader in the manufacturing world and the work we are doing here than Leah Archibald,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso stated.  He then referenced the New York City Economic Development Corporation, “I’m glad the [NYC] EDC is here because I really want them to see the fruit of their labor. What they can do when they entrust local organizations like Evergreen to do this work: so that the next application could be half as long and we can get the money twice as fast — that’s the goal!”  He  added a call to action in protecting manufacturing in the community, “We need to stop moving away from this idea that residential development is economic development, because it is not. We have to stop encroaching on the manufacturing sector and start protecting it.  IBZs shouldn’t be the only place that we protect manufacturing. We fell extremely short through COVID of being able of supplying ourselves … we had to pay a premium or we couldn’t get it. We can do all that here in New York and the United States of America if we only start reemphasizing the importance of manufacturing spaces.  So now as a borough president I’m going to be reinforcing that every step of the way.  I come from the school of Leah Archibald, she taught me everything I know about manufacturing.”  In wrapping up he said, “I can’t tell you how grateful and how happy I am to be in here in March, which is Women’s Month, and seeing the work of strong women like Leah being able to produce outcomes like this.  We should do a lot more of that.”

We start with helping one another. It is my hope that this place is going to do that: to really help small businesses help people fulfill their dreams and know that someone believes in them the way that my father believed in every single person that he met.

Denise Watson-Adin, daughter of Wesley H. Watson
Denise Watson-Adin, daughter of Wesley Watson, the center’s namesake, with Leah Archibald, exec. dir. of Evergreen at the front door of the new industrial center at 500 Stagg Street. Photo Credit Lori Ann Doyon.

The daughter of the center’s namesake, Denise Watson-Adin, shared her father’s wisdom and her hopes for the center, “My dad, Wes Watson, he was a man of many quotes and many words. The first thing I think of is ‘Relationships matter’.  … This space is going to be used in many great ways.  My dad always said, ‘You have to love people because they are everywhere you go.’  … So when you think about world events and pray for Ukraine and think about what’s going on there: we start small, we start with businesses, we start with helping one another. It is my hope that this place is going to do that: to really help small businesses help people fulfill their dreams and know that someone believes in them the way that my father believed in every single person that he met.  … He made sure that you somehow left the building better than you were when you met him.  … I look forward to all the wonderful things that will happen here, the businesses that will pass through, but what that means is that the leaders of these businesses have to make sure that if they are in the walls of the Watson Center that they are truly working to make the world a better place by believing in one another and coaching every single person who walks through here to be their best self.”

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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