BK-Queens streetcar plan sows worries among manufacturers

City intends to raise property values for revenue to fund $2.5B project
February 17, 2016 01:30PM

Manufacturer holdouts along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront are concerned about a property tax hike, and ultimately displacement, if Mayor Bill de Blasio’s planned 16-mile streetcar line to connect the two boroughs becomes a reality.

At an estimated cost of $2.5 billion, the city is looking to fund the project with increased tax revenue by raising property values — and that has some worried.

“I’m concerned about the impacts on the adjacent real estate and our ability to keep manufacturing land for high-quality, working-class jobs,” Leah Archibald, of Evergreen Exchange, manager of north Brooklyn’s industrial business zone, told Crain’s.

As residential use is more lucrative than manufacturing and commercial, many manufacturers have resisted the temptation to sell their highly-valuable real estate to developers for apartment towers or office space.

De Blasio jumped on the Brooklyn-Queens streetcar idea and announced the project last month. The aboveground route from Sunset to Astoria would increase transportation to areas that have seen rapid growth, such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and has the backing of several developers.

Nonprofit Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, which has been a proponent of the plan, recently commissioned a study that expected an estimated 15.8 million passengers would use the streetcar line annually by 2035. [Crain’s]Dusica Sue Malesevic