The Daily Dirt: Industry City rezoning may not be dead?

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

TRD New York /
Aug.August 04, 2020 07:00 PM

The rezoning of Industry City might not be dead after all.

Outgoing City Council members Ritchie Torres and Donovan Richards wrote an op-ed in the Daily News Monday, criticizing Council member Carlos Menchaca for rejecting the rezoning.

“Each of us was elected to be a responsible steward of the public good, not a feudal lord who gets to arbitrarily rule over public land as though it were a personal fiefdom,” wrote Torres, of the Bronx, and Richards, of Queens. “‘Member deference’ has its place, to be sure. But it becomes dangerous when it morphs into veto power over the growth of the city’s economy.”

In a Twitter exchange with Torres, Menchaca wrote: “Hermano, come to Sunset Park and meet the immigrant and working class families here. Ask them about IC and it’s “promise” of jobs. Then we can talk productively. This is too important a decision to hash out over opeds or social media. Te espero pronto. (Y también @DRichards13).”

When Menchaca pledged last month to vote against the rezoning, Industry City’s development team — a partnership between Jamestown, Belvedere Capital, Cammeby’s International and Angelo, Gordon & Co. — said it was waiting for “great leaders [to] emerge” save the rezoning plan. It isn’t clear exactly who the team was referring to, but as Erik Engquist reports, some are looking to Council Speaker Corey Johnson to lead the way.

“Industry City clearly offers public benefits — economic benefits, opening up the waterfront in an industrial area, etc. — so the Council should at least consider an up-or-down vote,” said Evan Thies, who represents real estate clients at public affairs firm Pythia Public but is not involved in Industry City. “It should be heard by the entire Council… because the implications are citywide, not just on [Sunset Park]. And let the best argument win.”

When it comes to land-use issues, Council members usually vote according to the local member’s wishes. So, having two colleagues speak out against Menchaca is a big deal. But both Richards and Torres are heading for different offices — Queens Borough President and 15th District Congressional Representative, respectively — and Johnson hasn’t indicated whether he will initiate a spirited debate over the rezoning proposal. After all, Johnson has his sights set on Gracie Mansion, and after the passage of the city’s budget, he likely already faces an uphill battle in winning over progressives.

Facing fraud charges, Navillus Contracting CEO Donal O’Sullivan has temporarily stepped down.

The concrete and masonry contractor’s COO Colin Mathers will take over as interim CEO as O’Sullivan, his sister and the company’s comptroller commit to “clearing” their names, O’Sullivan said in a letter to clients on Monday. The three were indicted last week on charges that they schemed to avoid making more than $1 million in payments to union benefit funds between 2011 and 2017.

O’Sullivan notes that while his company has “worked hard over the past three decades to build strong relationships with the vast majority of New York unions,” there are “a select few who seem determined to tear apart the Navillus family.” According to O’Sullivan, Navillus paid $204 million to union benefit funds between 2011 and 2017 and the indictment “falsely claims that unions were shorted by less than one-half of one percent of that amount.”

What we’re thinking about: Will more City Council members speak out in favor of Industry City’s rezoning? Send a note to [email protected].

CLOSING TIME

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Monday was for a condo unit at 20 East 78th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at $18.8 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for an apartment building at 229 West 105th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at $10 million.

BREAKING GROUND

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 5,720-square-foot residential building at 21 Conselyea Street in Williamsburg. Sasha Goldberg of Cobblestone Estates LLC filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET

The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a house at 318 West 81st Street on the Upper West Side at $12.95 million. Leslie J. Garfield has the listing.
— Research by Orion Jones

A thing we’ve learned…

Antoine Dodson, whose July 2010 interview about saving his sister from a home intruder went viral, apparently did a series of commercials for Alabama-based homebuilder Hyde Homes. In one of the ads, Dodson riffs off that initial interview, saying, “These days I’m telling folks to hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your whole family in a brand new Hyde home. Buying a used home is so dumb. It’s like really really dumb.” Thank you to Sasha Jones, who spotted this ad on Twitter.

Elsewhere in New York

— The doctor is out. Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot resigned Tuesday following a long-standing feud with Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to Politico New York. Most recently, Barbot and the mayor clashed over plans to reopen the city’s public schools.

— The State Liquor Authority has suspended nearly 100 liquor licenses during the pandemic over social distancing and other Covid-19 violations, the New York Post reports. The agency yanked 11 licenses on Monday night for a total of 95 statewide.

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that travelers from Rhode Island must now self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in New York, Newsday reports. Such rules apply to 34 states and Puerto Rico.


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