9.18.20 – “Report: With or without Industry City rezoning, Sunset Park has a housing crisis”

As reported by Bklyner:

The population of Community Board 7 (CB7), which encompasses Sunset Park, increased by over 17,000 residents between 2010 and 2018. Meanwhile, the predominantly Latinx and Asian neighborhood saw a net loss of more than 3,700 housing units, according to a new report from the nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC).

“For many decades, little to no investment in new housing development occurred in Sunset Park, even while the population of the neighborhood continued to swell to welcome new immigrants,” the report reads. “This has contributed to severe overcrowding in the neighborhood, placing Sunset Park in the top 10% citywide.”

Only about 1,000 new housing units have been built in CB7 since 2014, and only 80 of those units are affordable. Median market rate rents in the area have climbed from $1,230 in 2006 to $1,630 in 2018, and incomes haven’t kept pace. Just over 30 percent of Sunset Park residents are severely rent burdened, meaning they spend over half their income on housing…

The dearth of new affordable units may be traced to the neighborhood’s 2009 rezoning, when the Bloomberg administration declined to map Mandatory Inclusionary Housing — which requires a minimum number of affordable units in new residential developments — despite pressure from community organizations like FAC.

The city instead mapped Voluntary Inclusionary Housing in the area, offering developers a chance to construct higher density buildings than would otherwise be allowed in exchange for a minimum number of affordable units.

Only five Sunset Park developments have taken advantage of the voluntary program since 2014.

“We see the impact of that. Five projects, a handful of affordable housing sites,” said Michelle de la Uz, executive director of FAC, adding that targeted rezonings should be considered in Sunset Park to trigger MIH. “It’s a real opportunity to address some of the community’s needs, and quite honestly, do it faster than the 100% affordable housing projects can do.”…

The report proposed some creative solutions to the housing shortage, such as combining municipal buildings with affordable housing, an experiment that’s currently underway at the Sunset Park Library & Affordable Housing Project, converting industrial land for residential use, and remediating brownfields — unused sites deemed potentially contaminated by the EPA — for affordable housing developments.

De la Uz would also like to see the city provide tax credits to homeowners who rent apartment units at below-market rates, and to fully implement its delayed Neighborhood Pillars Program, which provides loans to nonprofits purchasing multi-family properties to preserve their affordability.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.19.20, backdated to 9.18.20

9.17.20 – “The Garage and KMH Take Space at Brooklyn’s Industry City”

As reported by the Commercial Observer:

Marketing studio The Garage and post-production firm KMH Integration have joined Industry City’s roster of creative tenants, Commercial Observer has learned. 

The Garage, a studio that produces commercials for brands like Heinz Ketchup and Jack Daniel’s, signed a 14,682-square-foot lease at 86 34th Street in Industry City, according to information from the Brooklyn complex’s developers, Belvedere CapitalJamestown and Angelo Gordon & Co. The Garage will use the space for tabletop cinematography, and to provide training and teach online classes. 

“They came to us for a reason,” Kathe Chase, the director of leasing for Industry City, said. “They wanted a cool space that felt energized when people came in.”

KMH Integration signed a 1,267-square-foot lease at 254 36th Street for its post-production work. KMH integrates traditional broadcasting technology with live streaming capabilities, and provides educational classes and training as well. 

“What we’ve already created at Industry City is a hub of companies here that leverage off each other,” Chase said. 

In August, the city selected Steiner Studios to build a film and television production facility at the nearby Bush Terminal, further cementing Sunset Park as a production hub, Chase said…

While Industry City doesn’t currently have studio stages, and doesn’t plan to build managed spaces on spec, its developers are in talks with some end-users to build custom stages for them, Chase said. In addition, since Industry City owns its own streets, companies can film outside without permits. 

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.19.20, backdated to 9.17.20

9.17.20 – “A Call for Action to Ease Sunset Park’s Housing Crunch”

As reported by City Limits:

Sunset Park has long been home to a high concentration of the industry and workers—many of them immigrants—who made New York City a titan on the world stage.

Now facing a housing crunch, the Brooklyn neighborhood needs a multifaceted housing plan including the repurposing of public space, according to a report released Thursday by a leading local nonprofit.

That plan includes new tenant protections, repurposing government-owned land and isolated manufacturing parcels for housing, and a rezoning to generate both market-rate and income-targeted apartments.

“For many decades, little to no investment in new housing development occurred in Sunset Park, even while the population of the neighborhood continued to swell to welcome new immigrants, particularly from the Latino and Chinese communities,” The Fifth Avenue Committee’s report, “2020 Sunset Park Housing Conditions: Recommendations for Development without Displacement,” says…

The predicament shows the shortcomings in two mayors’ planning strategies over 20 years. Mayor Bloomberg rezoned areas around Sunset Park in 2003, 2007 and 2009 to spur housing development but without any mandatory mechanism for generating affordable units. Mayor de Blasio did create such a mechanism—the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rule, or MIH, which requires developers who benefit from a density increase to set aside a portion of units for specific income groups.

De Blasio’ approach to adding density, however, has been scatter-shot: His administration has rezoned a small number of neighborhoods, and done so in ways that exposed low-income communities of color to displacement risks while allowing wealthier, whiter areas of the city to avoid absorbing more residents. The de Blasio administration’s resistance to calls for comprehensive planning is echoing through the controversy over Industry City’s private rezoning application, which would impact Sunset Park.

Features peculiar to Sunset Park have worsened the mismatch between demand and supply, according to Matthew Murphy, the executive director of the Furman Center at NYU. For one thing, there’s no public housing in the area—which means there is less of a buffer against the general rise in rents.

For another, “Sunset Park stands out for its relatively low rate of housing production,” Murphy (who is no relation to the author), says. “We see that the number of housing units in Sunset Park actually fell by nearly 4,000 units between 2010 and 2018. In the last two years, only 160 units have been added. This is likely a contributing factor to relatively high rent increases as well.”

The solution, according to FAC, is four-fold.

First, Sunset Park has a fair amount of government-owned land that could be used to create 100 percent affordable housing…

In addition, while the local industrial business zone (IBZ) provides a needed safe haven for manufacturing, “Sunset Park is home to a range of undervalued and underused industrial sites outside of the IBZ that no longer meet the demands or needs of the community, like the 4th Avenue and 39th Street corridors,” the report reads…

The converted manufacturing-zoned sites would be part of a larger rezoning of the Fourth Avenue transit corridor. “Mapping Mandatory Inclusionary Housing in areas along this transit corridor especially in areas that were not rezoned in the last 17 years, taking care to protect existing rent stabilized housing, is a vital step in promoting housing affordability in the community,” the report argues.

FAC’s strategy also calls for new tenant protections, like extending the Right to Counsel program, a city initiative that provides free lawyers to low-income tenants facing eviction in Housing Court, to Sunset Park…

Is New York City’s housing crunch chiefly a supply problem—resulting from low production of new housing—or an inequality problem, reflecting the inability of working people to afford the supply that’s been created? And if the answer is “all of the above,” meaning the crisis stems from both scarcity and inequality, can solutions like MIH that rely predominantly on market-rate production actually close the gap?…

FAC nods to this political context:

While city-sponsored neighborhood wide rezonings in predominately low- and moderate-income communities of color have raised legitimate concerns about increased gentrification and displacement pressures given their broad impacts on the local real estate market, more limited land use actions that redevelop underutilized sites and result in the creation of deeply and permanently affordable housing units through Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) without any taxpayer subsidy should be considered.

The report also notes that middle-class areas of New York need to be tapped to provide more housing capacity.

Whether the city pursues a Sunset Park rezoning in isolation, or approaches it as part of a comprehensive plan to address citywide land-use issues, action is unlikely to come during the remaining 15-and-a-half months of the de Blasio administration, which will be hard-pressed to complete the lone pending rezoning proposal, in Gowanus, before its tenure ends.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.19.20, backdated to 9.17.20

9.17.20 – Round-up of Industry City rezoning stories following City Council hearing

As reported by The City on 9.15.20:

On Tuesday, the City Council will hold a public hearing on a proposed rezoning for the sprawling waterfront complex that has become a flash point in competing visions of New York City’s future and how government officials should guide it. The Council must act by mid-November and either send the plan to the mayor for final approval or vote it down.

Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball and businesses like Diaz Electric and Sahadi’s say the future lies in a combination of modern manufacturing, a home for tech and other related creative companies, and retailing.

The proposed expansion, they say, will result in 20,000 jobs at the complex and adjacent areas, and $100 million in additional tax revenue.

On Monday, Kimball announced that he would be willing to tie full use of the new space to meeting specific thresholds for jobs and the hiring of local residents, to be negotiated before the Council votes on the proposal.

Community activists contend that the vision Kimball is selling is a hoax and that the owners are engaged in real estate speculation that will create expensive offices and luxury retailing. The result, they say, will send nearby rents soaring, displace current residents and offer very few good jobs to those who live in the working-class neighborhood…

But some Council members, including Ritchie Torres (D-The Bronx), Donovan Richards (D-Queens) and Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) say the city desperately needs the jobs Industry City will bring and that Menchaca’s position must be overridden.

“You don’t have to be an economist to know that to stave off a recession or depression, which is what we are headed for is to create jobs,” said Cornegy, adding he has visited the complex 14 times. “We have that opportunity to do that in Brooklyn with Industry City.”…

The story of Industry City began in 2013 when Kimball convinced Jamestown Properties, then best known as the developer of the Chelsea Market, to buy the derelict former industrial buildings that are part of the old Bush Terminal complex…

A central passageway connects all the buildings with many public spaces, including clusters of specialty food and drink venues that serve as a magnet for visitors.

Some 550 businesses located there employed 8,000 people before the pandemic shutdown. That’s 10 times the number of businesses and a four-fold increase in jobs since 2013, Industry City officials report.

A million square feet are used for warehouse and distribution, another 1 million for manufacturing, 900,000 for office, 400,000 for art and design firms and 20,000 for retail.

Rents range from $15 a square foot to the mid $30s, cheap by New York standards…

Kimball said the tenants have enthusiastically embraced an existing workforce center at the site that helps prepare and place people from the neighborhood in jobs — a practice he says would extend to an expanded Industry City.

“It’s just good business,” Kimball said. “People who can walk here stay in their jobs longer.”

Opponents, however, reject almost every contention Kimball makes.

They say Industry City has released only the favorable results of the survey and they want to see the underlying data to be sure the company is not manipulating the figures. They also demand full disclosure of the owners’ financial plans.

Foes of the expansion proposal are convinced Industry City will be converted into a Jamestown luxury mall, accelerating displacement of longtime local residents…

“Of course manufacturing has a future and one that involves work with your hands, and immigrant Sunset Park is well positioned to be a center of the work to make the kinds of large installations like windmills to fight climate change,” says Jorge Muniz-Reyes, one of the group’s organizers…

Counters Jackie Capriles: “Industry City used to be a place with abandoned businesses and drug addicts. They have turned it around. My daughter is 14 and I want to make this a better place for her.”

+ + + + +

As reported by Politico on 9.16.20:

Battle lines have been drawn over Industry City, one of the biggest development proposals on the table for New York’s post-pandemic future. The Brooklyn project, which reached the City Council for a hearing Tuesday, would expand the hub on Sunset Park’s waterfront with retail, offices and more manufacturing, and if you believe the developers, spur the creation of 15,000 new jobs.

On one side is City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who believes it will drive gentrification in his district and whose opposition would normally be enough to kill the proposal under the Council’s traditions. On the other is a vocal contingent of Council Democrats — Ritchie Torres, Donovan Richards, and Robert Cornegy — who believe a city in an economic crisis cannot afford to lose out on potentially thousands of jobs, and want the body to override Menchaca and allow it to go forward.

In the middle: Bill de Blasio. Amid questions about what his vision for the city’s economic recovery looks like, the mayor has steadfastly declined to take a position. Council members lamented that City Hall has been missing in action, per the Real Deal, and support may hinge on the mayor wading in at the last minute. But on Tuesday, he was sticking to his stance that this isn’t his problem because it’s a private proposal. “The important thing is to let the City Council do its deliberations for now,” he said. Also unclear is the position of Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who finds himself caught between activists on the left and pro-business forces as he mulls whether to go forward with his own run for mayor.

Reps questioned the developers on whether their jobs projections can be believed, considering that the city’s economy has tanked since the estimates were first made. A vote is due by November.

+ + + + +

As reported by City Limits on 9.16.20:

City Council members poked and prodded Industry City leaders Tuesday on their rezoning proposal, focusing on accountability, transparency and job projections during a land-use subcommittee hearing. 

The Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee hearing marked the next step as the private application for the Sunset Park waterfront development project moves through the public review process or ULURP (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure).

Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball said in his testimony that the rezoning proposal for an expansion could bring in an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 jobs–15,000 on site and 5,000 off site. 

However during the hearing Kimball clarified that of those 15,000 jobs, an estimated 8,000 already exist at Industry City. 

Subcommittee Zoning and Franchises Chair and Queens Councilmember Francisco Moya questioned Kimball about how those jobs could be guaranteed since they depended heavily on Industry City tenants hiring locally. “So how are you calculating the job creation estimates? And since these are not jobs directly generated by Industry City, you can’t truly guarantee that these jobs will exist?,” asked Moya.

Brooklyn Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, in whose district the proposal falls under and who has publicly rejected the proposal asked whether there was an opportunity to make local hiring a requirement in the lease for future Industry City tenants…

Kimball said Industry City has a track record of successfully creating thousands of jobs but no landlord could guarantee Industry City tenants would hire locally. “The way you are successful with workforce development and with onsite employment centers is by making it an amenity for the tenants, not a penalty. The minute you show up in a small business space and say, you have to sign all these legally binding things, or we’re not going to lease the space to you, that’s the moment they say goodbye [and] go somewhere else,” said Kimball. 

Kimball added the rezoning proposal was supported by local labor unions–some of which spoke in support of the rezoning proposal at the hearing. 

While Richards and Cornegy were both supportive of the rezoning proposal, each did raise concerns about job creation and what type of transparency Industry City would provide on worker demographics and income…

Kimball said he could not comment on the city administration’s approach and added that Industry City was committed to showing transparency and report to an independent group under a legally binding agreement. 

+ + + + +

 As reported by Brownstoner on 9.16.20:

Is there a way to guarantee new jobs at Industry City?

There seems to be some debate on this issue. Despite the promise by the Sunset Park complex’s CEO Andrew Kimball of 20,000 new jobs as part of a proposed rezoning—the topic of a public hearing yesterday hosted by the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises—many in the local community feel that, in addition to the speculative nature of that promise, there needs to be greater accountability and admission of long term impacts that zoning changes at Industry City will cause on the surrounding neighborhood.

“Promises by major developers are broken every day,” said Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who has been outspoken in his rejection of the current proposal to rezone.

It turns out that the estimate of 20,000 jobs that has been thrown around by Industry City officials, as well as like-minded local politicians in editorials last month in the pages of the New York Daily News, is just a guess. “I don’t think anybody can make that guarantee,” Kimball said when pressed repeatedly about the numbers.

He agreed to work with a city agency to bring more transparency to those numbers, as well as that the jobs go to local residents if the proposal is passed.

But in the midst of COVID-19, the question of jobs has become even more urgent. Nearly 200 people signed up to speak at the virtual public hearing, roughly split down the middle in their support or opposition to the proposal. Prior to the meeting, members of the Brooklyn Democratic Party signed a letter urging the City Council to vote in line with Menchaca….

“We are suffering. Small businesses need help,” said local resident David Estrada, who was against the current proposal. “Can we set a new example to this city for how to do this together?”

For residents and the developer behind Industry City to work together, many in the neighborhood feel that what is needed is a strong, legally-binding Community Benefits Agreement. But as the process has dragged on, others feel that what is most urgent is not letting a plan slip through the cracks.

+ + + + +

— Posted by JVS on 9.17.20

9.16.20 – CB7 passes resolution asking city to re-engage public re: Made in NY Campus

On 9.16.20, CB7 passed the below resolution by a vote of 30-3:

RESOLVED – That CB7/Brooklyn requests EDC:
1. Hold the finalization of any MiNY deals until after the conclusion of the Industry City ULURP process, and
2. Delay bringing the Steiner Studios proposal for the Made in NY Campus (MiNY), or any other major deals related to the campus, before EDC’s Board of Directors until the agency has worked with the Sunset Park community to analyze the project’s latest details and establish ways to measure and monitor its future impacts.

A letter sent by CB7 to the city containing the resolution is available here for download.

— Posted by JVS on 9.18.20, backdated to 9.16.20

9.16.20 – “LOCALS SOUND OFF ON INDUSTRY CITY REZONING AT 11-HOUR CITY COUNCIL HEARING”

As reported by the Brooklyn Paper:

Dozens of locals clashed at an 11-hour City Council hearing about the controversial Industry City rezoning on Tuesday — with proponents arguing that the development will bring needed jobs, and critics calling for increased transparency about the project.

“My colleagues are asking questions that you can’t answer,” local Councilman Carlos Menchaca told Industry City executive Andrew Kimball at the virtual hearing. “My colleagues are asking for things that they want to see as well, but it is the community that will hold you accountable.”…

Kimball opened Tuesday’s hearing by emphasizing the thousands of jobs and the many benefits developers have promised to the community, such as the creation of a local technical high school, a reduction in retail space, and the promise that many of the jobs will go to Sunset Park residents. Industry City already has a track record of working with the community as the neighborhood’s largest employer, Kimball argued, adding that 20 percent of Sunset Park residents work at the complex. 

But Menchaca charged that there is no binding framework to ensure Industry City’s owners see those promises through.

“Promises by major developers are broken every day,” he said. “With two months to go, there is no way to reach a level of accountability that my community demands and deserves.”…

“I truly believe we could not have sustained our business in New York City if not for our residence in Industry City,” said Jennifer Dundas, the founder of the ice cream company Blue Marble, which has operated a warehouse and production space since 2011. 

Critics echoed Menchaca’s concern that the developers won’t be held accountable for the promised community benefits, and said that the redevelopment will draw glitzy corporations that will drive up rents and offer low-paying, menial jobs to locals.

“Rents are going to skyrocket and people will be displaced … I do not understand how many examples we need to see of this throughout the city to finally believe in it,” said Jacqui Painter from Red Hook. “As we heard today, there’s no proof of these so-called 20,000, 7,000 jobs.” 

A small group of activists expressed their opposition to the rezoning proposal at a rally by Industry City on Tuesday morning. 

“This plan is not a plan that will benefit our community,” said Sunset Park local Antoinette Martinez. “We need the City Council to stand with us and to make sure they know that this community is 100 percent against the rezoning that Industry City is trying to propose.” 

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.19.20, backdated to 9.16.20

9.16.20 – Quote from Councilman Menchaca added to Made in NY Campus press release after it was initially released

The 8.13.20 MOME press release announcing that Steiner Studios was coming to the Made in NY Campus did not include a quote from Councilman Carlos Menchaca.

However, a supportive quote from the Councilman was apparently added at a later date. A version of the press release available online as of 9.16.20 included this quote from Councilman Menchaca:

“The future of Sunset Park’s waterfront is at a crucial turning point. Fortunately, EDC’s stewardship of the Made In New York campus shows that we can pursue equitable development that is publicly accountable,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “We should always be pushing for greater climate resilience and community leadership, but I look forward to seeing Sunset Park benefit from this new opportunity and ensuring EDC delivers.”

I do not know when this quote was added to the release.

— Posted by JVS on 9.16.20

9.15.20 – “Where’s the mayor? Council members say de Blasio’s MIA on Industry City rezoning”

As reported by The Real Deal:

During a hearing, Council members repeatedly asked why the de Blasio administration has not been involved with the private application to rezone the 35-acre Brooklyn campus.

Council member Carlos Menchaca, whose Sunset Park district includes the business campus, called on the development team — a partnership between Jamestown, Belvedere Capital, Cammeby’s International and Angelo, Gordon & Co. — to secure investment from the city. That, along with a vocational high school, was among the 10 requirements the council member identified as necessary to win his support for the rezoning…

When Menchaca asked Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball about the status of the development team’s discussions with a community coalition, Kimball declined to go into detail. The CEO also acknowledged that the school depends on the city’s Department of Education getting involved.

“This is the nature and the breaking point of this entire application,” Menchaca said. “The mayor’s not here. You don’t know when that’s going to happen.”

Council member Antonio Reynoso echoed this discomfort, saying that it is easy to be open to building a school but without an engaged administration, promises to deliver one are empty…

When asked about Industry City at a separate press conference, the mayor deferred to the City Council and noted that the rezoning is being pursued through a private application.

“I think the important thing is to let the City Council do its deliberations for now,” he said. “And then if at some point I think it’s important to weigh in, I will.”…

“The alternative as-of-right strategy will create far fewer jobs and forfeit the dynamic academic collaborations we propose,” Kimball said, reading prepared testimony. “It will also force us to look more closely at the highest-return opportunities available in [manufacturing] zones today, namely pure office and last-mile warehouse distribution.”

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.19.20, backdated to 9.15.20

9.15.20 – “The Industry City plan fails our test: Jobs aren’t the quality the neighborhood deserves”

The excerpts below are from an op-ed by State Sen. Gustavo Rivera and Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE, that was published in the New York Daily News:

After decades of exposure to high levels of air pollution, residents in environmental justice communities like Sunset Park, the South Bronx or Southeast Queens understand this all too well. Sunset Park, for example, is a predominantly immigrant and working-class community located on the largest industrial waterfront in New York City. Residents suffer extremely high rates of asthma and other diseases linked to pollution while being on the front line of climate change. Recently, they have seen frightening upticks in COVID-19 infections and severe economic insecurity.

The hardest-hit communities will not survive if we settle for development that offers only short-term gains. Industry City is the perfect example. Despite drastic changes to economic and health priorities and the existential threat of climate change, transnational real-estate speculators continue to hype this ill-conceived proposal, which will rezone 3.3 million square feet in New York City’s largest Significant Maritime Industrial Area so they can add almost a million square feet of additional luxury and big-box retail, unlimited office space development, and two hotels (that remain in the developers’ application despite public statements implying otherwise).

Jobs? Don’t believe the hype about 20,000 jobs. This outdated rezoning application has been unchanged since 2017, and doesn’t integrate new “Existing Conditions” analysis, market changes or economic needs. The Industry City proposal offers low-wage jobs catering to visitors and outsiders…

There is an alternative. Local environmental justice organization UPROSE and partners have put forward a community-led plan, the Green Resilient Industrial District (GRID), that utilizes Sunset Park’s industrial sector to tackle regional climate adaptation and generate green-collar jobs.

The GRID harnesses new funding through the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act and the city’s Climate Mobilization Act, together projected to create more than 200,000 climate jobs. This approach shows how industrial spaces can support local, sustainable manufacturing of urgently needed supplies like PPE and catalyze renewable energy development to clean our air and combat climate change.

Decide for yourself: Do we need long-lasting, well-paying jobs that take on the climate change crisis or more big-box stores, vacant office space, and yet more high-end hotels that displace lifelong New Yorkers?

— Posted by JVS on 9.16.20, backdated to 9.15.20

9.14.20 – “Busting Industry City Rezoning Myths”

The below excerpts are from an op-ed by Dr. Tarry Hum published in the Gotham Gazette:

Furthermore, a Partnership for New York City letter signed by 17 organizations including labor unions, local chambers of commerce, and the Real Estate Board of New York, claimed rezoning Industry City “will generate $100 million a year in desperately needed local tax revenue.” Real property taxes are the largest source of city revenues to fund essential public services such as education, housing, transit, and health services. The truth, however, is Industry City has long been a beneficiary of the city’s costliest commercial real estate tax exemption program, the Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP), which significantly lowered the amount of tax owed on a commercial property by reducing the property’s assessed value for up to 25 years.

Due to its high cost in foregone commercial property tax revenues, which the Independent Budget Office estimated at $500 million in fiscal year 2008, ICIP was replaced by the Industrial and Commercial Abatement Program in 2008. But, properties with previously approved ICIP tax exemption benefits (such as Industry City) were not affected. 

Despite the perception that Industry City does not benefit from public subsidies, three Industry City buildings have been paying significantly reduced property taxes for nearly two decades. In the case of 639 2nd Avenue, which is one of Industry City’s nine city block-long “finger buildings” connected by a public corridor of boutique retailers dubbed Innovation Alley, its current estimated market value is $36,331,000 but the 2020/2021 taxes will be based on an assessed value of a mere $9,446,240. The 25-year ICIP benefit period for 639 2nd Avenue will end on June 30, 2027. For 882 3rd Avenue, a 12-story building with commercial office tenants, Industry City’s 2020/2021 tax bill will be based on an assessed value of $21,827,520, which is significantly less than half the property’s market value at approximately $60 million. Industry City’s commercial property tax exemptions are, in fact, a public subsidy…

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored deep and persistent racial inequality but approval of Industry City’s rezoning proposal to establish an innovation district will not generate the jobs desperately needed by working class New Yorkers.

Read the full piece here.

— Posted by JVS on 9.19.20, backdated to 9.14.20