Industry City pulls plug on rezoning

Call it Amazon – Take Two.

Industry City late Tuesday night announced they are withdrawing their rezoning proposal on Sunset Park waterfront property they own that had the potential to bring thousands of jobs, small business opportunities and much-needed tax revenue to the cash-strapped city.

Industry City is a sprawling 16-building property that leases space to small and large businesses in the light manufacturing, technology, retail and events business sectors among others. There is no housing in the complex and it sought rezoning to further convert and/or demolish and rebuild some of the either vacant or used for warehouse and storage space buildings.

But it pulled the plug after ten state and congressional representatives in Brooklyn earlier on Tuesday signed onto a letter opposing the rezoning just weeks before the City Council was set to vote on the controversial proposal.

“Rather than cede leadership to a private developer forging ahead with their application, the City should take the initiative to reassess the economic environment, its manufacturing needs (particularly with the new mandates in recently passed climate acts), the needs of the local community for jobs, and the future of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries, Jerry Nadler, and Yvette Clarke;  State Senators Zelnor Myrie and Julia Salazar, and Assemblymembers Jo Anne Simon, Robert Carroll, Diana Richardson, and Latrice Walker. 

Earlier opposing the rezoning was City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook), who represents the area as well as City Councilmember Antonio Reynoso and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Among those in favor for the rezoning were City Council Members Robert Cornegy and Donovan Richards as well as a a number of unions, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and small businesses in the area.

“In late July, it became clear that a  number of convergent factors were forcing us to rethink our request to have the property rezoned. Now, despite strong support from a growing number of Council Members, the City Planning Commission, a broad coalition of Sunset Park residents and small businesses, and members of the clergy, as well as civic, business and labor leaders and many others who care about New York and its future, it is clear that the current political environment and a lack of leadership precludes a path forward for our rezoning proposal,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City, announcing the withdrawal of the rezoning proposal:

“Over and over, we have heard from key decision-makers that while the substance of the project is strong, the politics of the moment do not allow them to support any private development project. Even the historic nature of our commitments – which significantly elevated the bar for future development projects – and a seven-year record of creating jobs and opportunity weren’t enough to overcome purely political considerations. Sadly, in the context of one in five New Yorkers losing their jobs and the City’s fiscal crisis spiraling out of control, the leadership needed to approve this development failed to emerge. Therefore, we have decided to withdraw our application and proceed with as-of-right leasing options,” he added.

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