First it happened with Amazon in Long Island City and now it’s happening with Industry City in Sunset Park.
A rezoning application to bring major economic growth to Sunset Park has been delayed after lawmakers pressured Industry City to put the brakes on bringing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic development to the waterfront of the working-class neighborhood.
Following pressure from City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook), who apparently recruited Democrats U.S. Reps. Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nadler, and State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, Industry City decided to delay their application for rezoning that would have initiated the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
“In consideration of the request made by our City Council Member and Community Board, Industry City has agreed to postpone public review of the proposed rezoning of the property,” said Industry City Spokesperson Lisa Serbaniewicz.
Industry City is the largest privately owned industrial complex in the city. Established in 2013 on the long abandoned Sunset Park waterfront, the 16-building complex has added upwards of 7,500 jobs and invested more than $80 million on Brooklyn-based businesses.
In March 2015, the owners put in an application to change part of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone to allow for a hotel, large-scale retail, and academic facilities. They estimate the rezoning has the potential to create 15,000 new jobs and millions more in revenue for the neighborhood.
Earlier this week, Menchaca and Community Board 7 Chair Cesar Zuniga sent a letter to Industry City officials asking for a delay rezoning plan citing the failures of the recent Amazon HQ2 deal.
Then today Velazquez, Nadler and Myrie sent a letter to Department of City Planning (DCP) Chair Marisa Lago calling on her to delay the approval of the rezoning application for Industry City.
“We write to express our support for a community-led process to evaluate the potential impacts of Industry City’s rezoning proposal before initiating ULURP. We strongly believe that ULURP should not begin until the Sunset Park community is satisfied with the results of the community engagement process they initiated last year in response to Industry City’s first public filing of their rezoning proposal in the fall of 2017,” read the joint letter.
DCP confirmed the delay, telling KCP the Industry City applications will not move into public review at the City Planning Commission meeting on Monday, March 11.
Unlike the criticism against Amazon that the company had forged a deal with Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and sidestepped the ULURP process for a state run process, Industry City has spent the last four years holding town halls and studying the environmental impact of the rezoning on the local community including meetings with local stakeholders and creating a website for open dialogue and transparency.
Among the items Menchaca and the community coalition want added before CPC considers starting the ULURP process include:
- A presentation to the Sunset Park community of the findings from last year’s town halls;
- An explanation by Industry City of how its rezoning proposal will mitigate displacement, gentrification, rising rents, congestion, and the effects of climate change;
- A community-based needs assessment, or similar review, to update the community’s vision for the waterfront;
- A presentation by Menchaca to the Community Board of his findings based on his own engagement process; and
- A review by the Sunset Park community of the Community Board and Council Member’s assessments.
The delay comes as a shocking Wall Street Journal report on the top 10 hottest and coldest labor markets in the U.S. found that New York City ranked as the 5th coldest, just ahead of Detroit and Cleveland.
“We fully appreciate the desire to continue that meaningful economic growth while ensuring it aligns with the broader needs of the entire community,” said Serbaniewicz.