The Industry City development team agreed to five major concessions to satisfy Council Member Carlos Menchaca before the Sunset Park politician stalled the deal for a second time by demanding a sixth late last week.
Industry City spokesperson Lisa Serbaniewicz said the industrial campus’ owners had “agreed to every request made by the Council Member, including supporting the removal of hotels, the establishment of a mechanism to ensure the provision of an irreducible amount of space restricted for industrial uses, establishment of a manufacturing hub managed by a mission-driven nonprofit, and further restriction of the total amount and location of retail uses.”
“We are also prepared to negotiate and execute a legally binding Community Benefits Agreement with a community-based organization with [the] support of the appropriate city agencies,” she continued in a statement.
Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball and its owners hoped that would be enough for them to start the seven-month land use review process Monday, but Menchaca is now saying that community members need to independently form a group to examine the plan first, according to his spokesperson Anthony Chiarito. If this does not happen, the rezoning process will likely not happen, either, as council custom affords Menchaca veto power over any rezoning in his district.
“If there aren’t groups who are willing to do that, then he’s not going to force people in the community to do that, so, yeah, that would kind of be the end,” Chiarito said. “But the council member believes in this. He’s been advocating for it.”
The owners, with many millions of dollars riding on the council member’s approval, previously agreed to delay their rezoning application for the 30-acre Brooklyn complex in March after Menchaca described the plan as “dead on arrival” unless they gave it more time for community input. The original plan filed in February requested 1.45 million square feet of new construction space that included two hotels with a total of 420 new rooms.
Crain’s reported that Menchaca’s latest change of heart came after he was “shouted off the stage” Monday upon announcing to community members his conditions for the rezoning to proceed.