Carpenters vs. activists: Industry City’s $1B expansion brawl begins

Union, biz owners clash with locals at public hearing

TRD New York /
Dec.December 11, 2019 09:45 AM
Council member Carlos Menchaca and Industry City (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia Commons)

Council member Carlos Menchaca and Industry City (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia Commons)

A $1 billion plan to expand Sunset Park’s Industry City complex was met with fierce opposition by local residents this week as the owner wades through a fraught approval process.

Industry City is pushing for a rezoning of the 35-acre complex to allow for more retail, academic space and offices at the Third Avenue site in Brooklyn. The landlord launched the seven-month land-use review process in October, and it is to be voted on by the City Council in the spring.

But the industrial campus has struggled to win over local Council member Carlos Menchaca, who will ultimately decide the rezoning’s fate, and residents, even after agreeing to nix two planned hotels at the site. Menchaca remains opposed to the expansion as proposed.

At a heated public hearing this week held at Park Slope’s Grand Prospect Hall, residents protested the expansion plans, amid concerns that it would gentrify the neighborhood, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

However, supporters of the project, primarily unionized carpenters, welcomed plans to create jobs at the site and verbally clashed with opponents. At one point, backers reportedly suggested that Industry City had attracted visitors and eliminated prostitution in the neighborhood, prompting sharp rebuke from residents.

“I’d rather be around sex workers who are accepting than gentrifiers who aren’t very accepting,” said the Rev. Samuel Cruz, the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, according to the news outlet [Brooklyn Paper] — David Jeans


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