The Real Deal New York

Sunset Park Council member says Industry City rezoning is “dead on arrival” if landlord doesn’t hit pause

Carlos Menchaca invokes Amazon’s HQ2 in rezoning discussion
By Rich Bockmann | March 06, 2019 11:47AM

Brooklyn City Council member Carlos Menchaca (left), Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball, and Industry City (Credit: Getty Images)

UPDATED, March 6, 1:15 p.m.: The Brooklyn City Council member whose vote could make or break Industry City’s rezoning in Sunset Park says the deal is “dead on arrival” if the landlord doesn’t delay its application.

Council member Carlos Menchaca said Sunset Park’s local community board is in the middle of a process to evaluate displacement and gentrification along the waterfront area, and is currently not ready to begin the city’s land use review process.

“If Industry City does not delay the application, and continue to follow the Sunset Park community’s lead, then this application is dead on arrival,” Menchaca said in a statement he released Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for Industry City said the company is disappointed by the request for a delay, and that it ” intend[s] to make our case” through the land-use process.

“Last month, New York City squandered an opportunity to bring 25,000 jobs to Long Island City,” spokesperson Lisa Serbaniewicz said. “Now, the possibility to create 15,000 new jobs is about to be lost in Sunset Park, where a plan for the reactivation of Industry City is about to begin the public review process.”

Serbaniewicz pointed out that that Industry City first filed a plan to rezone the complex four years ago, and since then has participated in numerous community meetings.

The owners of the massive Sunset Park complex – a partnership between Jamestown, Belvedere Capital, Cammeby’s International and Angelo, Gordon & Co. – filed their application late last month to rezone the 30-acre campus, as The Real Deal first reported.

The rezoning would allow the landlords expand retail at the site. Industry City is also looking to add another 1.45 million square feet of new construction, including a pair of hotels.

Menchaca and Sunset Park’s Community Board 7 wrote a letter to Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball saying the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process – or ULURP – does not give local stakeholders enough time to fully evaluate the impact of a rezoning.

“As the Amazon HQ deal highlighted – and as urban planners, environmentalists, and Sunset Park leaders have understood for a long time – ULURP is insufficient for evaluating displacement, gentrification, and the effects of climate change,” the letter read.

As part of the negotiations over the Amazon deal, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to put in a General Project Plan that would have taken the rezoning process out of the hands of city officials and ULURP.

Still, Menchaca and CB7 said they hope Industry City will delay its application and come to the table with them.

“Given your commitment thus far to follow the community’s lead, we ask that you delay the application and join us in seeing this process through,” their letter read.

This story was updated to include a comment from Industry City.