4.16.21 – Ray McGuire cites Industry City rezoning as a missed opportunity

As reported by Politico:

RAY MCGUIRE promised to run a business-friendly administration and stop getting in the way of job growth during an event today with the pro-business civic group, the Association for a Better New York.

A former Wall Street executive, McGuire said he would expand available resources for would-be entrepreneurs and streamline city approvals and regulations for existing ventures, pledging to make New York City “the easiest place in America to start and run a business.”

“Time and time and time again, our leaders have squandered the opportunities to create jobs,” McGuire said at the event. “We can’t tell companies trying to bring jobs to unemployed New Yorkers they’re not welcome. And yet that’s the status quo approach, whether it’s Amazon coming to Queens, the development of Industry City or the new bodega opening on your local street corners. I’m going to be the mayor that says yes, yes to new businesses and new jobs.” — Janaki Chadha

Read the full post here. 

— Posted by JVS on 4.17.21, backdated to 4.16.21; title updated on 4.17.21


12.24.20 – “10 Stories from 2020 NYC Shouldn’t Forget” piece includes IC rezoning

As reported by City Limits:

Industry City: Mainstream observers cast the withdrawal of IC’s application to expand its Sunset Park footprint as another nail in New York’s economic coffin, coming after Amazon’s HQ2 pullout and amid the devastation of COVID-19. Critics of the plan, however, said it was another indictment of episodic, developer-driven planning. The new City Council push for a comprehensive planning system creates an opportunity to devise a better for way for changing how the city’s most finite resource—its land—gets used. Will pro-development factions support that kind of planning in hopes of avoiding the next Industry City, or opt to stick with the status quo?

Read the full article here.

— Posted by JVS on 12.25.20, backdated to 12.24.20

12.15.20 – “What Industry City rivals are doing now”

As reported by Crain’s New York Business:

Both the developers and the opponents embroiled in the extremely contentious rezoning effort that turned the Industry City campus in Sunset Park into a longstanding hotbed of controversy say they have largely moved on from the heated dispute… 

“We still have a lot of space to work with,” Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball said. “Obviously, the rezoning would have given us the ability to build more over time, which we thought was a good thing in terms of additional jobs, but we have space to convert, and we’re actively pursuing that.”

About half of the tenants at Industry City have returned, and the campus typically draws between 8,000 and 10,000 visitors on weekends despite the pandemic, Kimball said. The development team recently announced it had leased more than 500,000 square feet since March, with new tenants including Union Square Hospitality Group and HelloFresh, and it expects about 75% of the complex to be filled by the end of the year…

“Some of these tenants, who were considering a Brooklyn footprint before the pandemic because a lot of their workers live in Brooklyn, now see it as the time to make the move,” he said.

Kimball maintains the rezoning would have been beneficial for Sunset Park but said that it became a “distraction” by the end of the process, particularly given the lack of leadership at the citywide level. He is now getting the chance for greater involvement with other facets of operating the property…

Local Councilman Carlos Menchaca spent more than a year going back and forth with the Industry City owners before ultimately coming out against the rezoning in July. He declined to comment for this report, but previously he told Crain’s that the fight with Industry City represented a turning point in the relationship between developers and communities in New York.

“The real estate community is beginning to understand that our power lies with our neighborhoods, and the entire city will be shifting its alliance with its elected officials,” he said, describing the Industry City rezoning as “a private solution to a public problem.”

The group Protect Sunset Park had been spearheading much of the opposition to the Industry City rezoning, and it was happy when the developers withdrew their plan, but the group has largely moved on from Industry City since then, organizer Jorge Muñiz said…

He described Industry City as “really just the middleman in this situation.”

“Industry City is a brand. We’re not advocating for a brand. We’re advocating for our waterfront,” Muñiz said. “We do not care about Industry City. We care about that waterfront developing into good uses for our people.”

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 12.25.20, backdated to 12.15.20

10.22.20 – “Opinion: NY Is Not Anti-Business. But It’s Not a Pushover, Either”

The below excerpts are from an op-ed by Adam Friedman that was published in City Limits:

The narrative that New York is anti-business, triggered by the recent defeat of the Industry City proposal, is not only misleading, but simplistic. It undermines efforts to build an effective process for identifying and addressing problems with large scale development proposals early on so that they can move forward with clear benefits to their surrounding communities and the city overall.   

For decades, the predominant economic development strategy could be summed up in the catechism “Build it, and businesses will come.” But this strategy has been increasingly questioned as think tanks and city halls around the country recognized that the talent of the workforce was also hugely influential in location decisions.  

Moving forward, the city needs to place education, workforce development and ensuring the vitality of all its neighborhoods at the core of its economic development strategy. 

The anti-business narrative got a big boost when Amazon decided not to build a second headquarters here last year. But Amazon did not abandon New York, it abandoned the terms that electeds and community members were demanding in exchange for substantial public subsidies…

The Industry City development was conceived for the pre-Covid market and, to an outside observer, it just became increasingly risky, changing both the public’s and maybe the developer’s estimation of the wisdom of the proposal. Its assumptions were dependent on workers getting on a subway at a time when the office market is readjusting, both in the short and long terms, to accommodate those opting to work remotely. 

Building more hotel and retail space, other components of the proposal, has also become increasingly risky as hotels and stores across the city are going bankrupt. Finally, the value of some of its land for last-mile warehouse space surged during the pandemic and Industry City can develop that without a zoning change. In short, Industry City was designed for the pre-Covid world, and the world changed. The new reality changed the value proposition. 

These two projects cannot be interpreted to mean the city is anti-business and communities have too much power. In fact, UPROSE and others in the community surrounding Industry City proposed a different business strategy focused on the growth of businesses engaged in addressing climate change, a sector that will inevitably grow. The fact that the owners and community had different business strategies does not make either one of them anti-business.

The experiences of Amazon and Industry City do reveal two important problems with the city’s overall economic development strategy: its overreliance on land use as a mechanism for growth, to the exclusion of holistic planning, and insufficient support from the city to realize job projections…

The scope of what a zoning change can address is inherently inadequate for addressing other issues. Without more comprehensive planning that addresses the citywide and neighborhood pictures, every need—whether for more schools, parks, affordable housing, fire stations or libraries—gets played out during a zoning change. The city needs alternative processes for assessing, raising and addressing the spectrum of resources every community needs to be vibrant. 

Second, the promise of jobs for residents is hollow unless there is the infrastructure surrounding the project to support the education and training of residents for those future jobs. Communities of color have lived these broken promises again and again…

Only the city can provide a school or the other workforce resources needed to make job commitments a reality, and the mayor declined to participate [in Industry City’s rezoning], which made the opportunity for much greater employment far less credible. 

Some other cities require developers seeking such zoning changes to provide a tenant engagement plan…

The city should focus less on attracting the “best and brightest” and more on ensuring that the more than one million students in our public schools have the support they need to be the best and brightest for generations to come.

Read the full piece here.

— Posted by JVS on 10.24.20, backdated to 10.22.20

9.24.20: “Opinion: Stop Echoing Industry City’s Bogus Math on Jobs”

The below op-ed by Norman Oder was published by City Limits:

For the marathon City Council Subcommittee hearing Sept. 15, Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball narrated a 51-page slideshow, titled “A Plan for 20,000 Jobs.” (Go to 45:35 of the hearing video.)

“Your approval will generate real benefits for Sunset Park and the City of New York,” Kimball stated, including “more than 20,000 jobs.”

Similarly, Industry City’s “Sunset Park Opportunity” website, aimed to marshal public support, touted “The plan to create up to 20,000 new jobs.” (That “up to” left much wiggle room, of course.)

Project backers have emphasized that nice round number. A New York Daily News op-ed by Council Members Donovan Richards and Ritchie Torres said “the city we love is in danger of sacrificing 20,000 jobs.” A New York Post editorial warned about sacrificing “20,000 new jobs,” likening it to “Amazon 2.”…

More dubious is the source of the off-site “economic activity” calculation…

In presentations in October 2018 and February 2019, Industry City stated—here’s the page—that adding 1.3 million square feet of new commercial/industrial space would bring “total on-site employment to 15,000, with 8,250 more jobs located off site.”

In small print appears this text, “*Source: IMPLAN,” though the asterisk is not keyed to a specific statistic. IMPLAN, an economic modeling application, plugs in money spent–including direct expenditures, indirect effects like business to business purchases, and induced effects generated by employee spending—to estimate impact on employment. IMPLAN counts employment in job-years—just as Louis indicated. It states: “In other words, if a worker holds one position in a company for three years, then IMPLAN counts that as three jobs over the course of a 3-year impact analysis.” It is unclear how much the Industry City job estimates rely on IMPLAN.

Major projects have ripple effects, but such indirect job-creation calculations inflate a project’s impact. Even the scuttled Amazon deal focused on on-site headcount, requiring, for example, that “Recipient… employ 25,000 Net New Full-time Permanent Employees at the Project Location by June 30, 2028” to gain certain tax credits…

Given the pandemic, many people are working from home, raising questions about job estimates made under different assumptions…

Asked at the hearing by Council Member Carlina Rivera how many workers had returned to the campus, Kimball said it was 40 percent, and “we expect we will get back up there.” He cited the sprawling complex’s “wide open staircases” and large courtyards as draws.

Still, he acknowledged, “There is no doubt we are going to lose some businesses.”…

The story of Industry City’s withdrawn rezoning has already become part of New York City development discourse, but it shouldn’t mislead.

The Real Estate Board of New York tweeted that the withdrawal “robb[ed] NYC of nearly 20,000 good-paying jobs.” A Daily News editorial lamented the loss of “up to 20,000 new jobs for job-starved New York.” City & State said the rezoning “promised to create 20,000 new jobs.”

That’s ridiculous. And even citations of “15,000 new jobs” deserve skepticism. As Reynoso wisely observed, “I think it would be naive for a Council Member to think that a number that’s thrown out… by the applicant, is something that we should trust, solely in itself.”

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 10.3.20, backdated to 9.24.20

9.22.20 – “Members of Congress slam Industry City rezoning”

As reported by The Real Deal:

Nearly a dozen elected officials Tuesday urged the City Council to reject the proposed Industry City rezoning — and the land-use process itself.

In a letter, Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Nydia Velázquez, Jerry Nadler and Yvette Clarke — who all represent Brooklyn — state that rezoning the 35-acre campus would “supercharge the displacement and gentrification that is undermining Sunset Park’s affordability and blue- collar job base.”

State Sens. Julia Salazar and Zellnor Myrie, as well as Assembly members Jo Anne Simon, Robert Carroll and Diana Richardson, also signed the letter.

“The City’s Land Use Review Procedure is not the place where real planning occurs,” the letter states. “In many instances, developers endeavor to dictate terms to neighborhood residents even though the public is being asked to make a momentous public land use decision with far-reaching impacts. The pressures in that kind of process are chiefly transactional, with inadequate community input and consideration of what is the right fit for impacted neighborhoods.”

It is unusual for members of Congress (and to a lesser extent state legislators) to wade into a debate over a local land-use decision. Their involvement could bolster Sunset Park Council member Carlos Menchaca’s efforts to kill the rezoning. During a press conference last week, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said it was “meaningful” that several Brooklyn elected officials opposed the plan.

Johnson emphasized that Menchaca isn’t alone in his opposition. The speaker has yet to publicly take a position on the proposal, but said he is also concerned that some of the promises made by the development team, led by Jamestown Properties, aren’t legally binding…

Representatives for the development team issued a statement from four Industry City business tenants in response to Tuesday’s letter.

“To make believe that there has not been an enormous amount of community engagement is just wrong,” the statement reads. “We know there has been, because we’ve been a part of it. Perhaps they should have been as well. The politicians should visit us now and see what they are opposing.”

Nadler has long championed the Sunset Park waterfront as an opportunity to bring the shipping industry back to Brooklyn, where it once supplied huge numbers of jobs. Citywide, manufacturing jobs have fallen to roughly 75,000 from a peak of about a million decades ago. Some of the land Industry City wants to rezone is set aside for heavy manufacturing.

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 10.3.20, backdated to 9.22.20

9.22.20 – “Industry City developers pull the plug on yearslong rezoning project”

As reported by Politico:

The developers behind rezoning plans for the sprawling Industry City complex in Sunset Park have decided to withdraw their application after a yearslong fight over the waterfront swath of Brooklyn.

Backers of the rezoning were attempting to convince the City Council to greenlight the plan over the opposition of local Council Member Carlos Menchaca, arguing the rezoning would allow for thousands of new jobs and millions in tax revenue that would help further the city’s economic recovery.

But the development team found “the leadership needed to approve this development failed to emerge,” CEO Andrew Kimball said in a statement to POLITICO Tuesday night.

“In late July, it became clear that a number of convergent factors were forcing us to rethink our request to have the property rezoned,” Kimball said. “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.”…

The decision to abandon the rezoning comes as a growing slate of politicians were coming out against it, including local Rep. Nydia Velázquez. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, a moderate Democrat who does not represent Sunset Park, joined the opposition on Tuesday, signing a letter from a slew of Brooklyn lawmakers urging Council members to vote down the plan.

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson has not expressed a clear public position on the plan, but appeared cool to the rezoning at a press conference last week, saying “it’s important not to paper over” opposition from local politicians. Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to get involved…

“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,” Kimball said, adding the group plans to continue with as-of-right leasing options.

The decision is a victory for opponents, including Menchaca, activist groups in Sunset Park and other left-leaning politicians who warned the plan would spur more gentrification and displacement in the largely working-class, immigrant neighborhood.

It also marks the death of yet another real estate project in recent months — this one perhaps more notable due to New York’s current economic straits. The city is facing a 20 percent unemployment rate while staring down a worsening fiscal hole. Supporters of the project, including multiple Council members, said it would be irresponsible to shoot down a rezoning that would bring thousands of new jobs and private investment at a time of such crisis…

The Tuesday letter from Jeffries and other elected officials said the rezoning would “forever shift the nature of the waterfront away from one of the few remaining manufacturing hubs to commercial tourism and service economy.”

Developers had agreed to meet a series of conditions laid out by Menchaca and others, such as setting aside space for manufacturing uses, scaling back planned retail and most recently, entering into a legally binding agreement tying future expansion plans to the number of jobs they can generate.

Asked last week what developers would do at the complex if the rezoning fails, Kimball said Industry City could be used as a last-mile warehouse distribution facility.

“I would argue those are not good for our communities,” he said on a call with reporters last Monday. “That is not our vision for the Industry City campus, but if we’re left with only what we can do under M-3 [zoning], there’s a very real possibility you’ll see a lot more of that.”

Read the full story here.

— Posted by JVS on 10.3.20, backdated to 9.22.20

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


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

9.15.20 – “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