The Daily Dirt: Fight over Industry City heats up

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

TRD New York /
Aug.August 17, 2020 07:00 PM

The fight for Industry City is gaining momentum.

Key labor groups signed onto a letter sent on Monday to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, urging the mayoral hopeful to support the rezoning of the 35-acre campus.

It isn’t surprising that proponents are pinning their hopes on Johnson. Last month, Industry City developers hinted vaguely that they hoped “great leaders” would emerge to shepherd the proposal through the City Council, despite local member Carlos Menchaca’s objection. The support of labor groups including 32BJ SEIU, the Building and Construction Trades Council and New York City Central Labor Council — all important potential endorsees of mayoral campaigns — puts additional pressure on Johnson.

In a separate letter, Citizens Budget Commission President Andrew Rein announced that his organization is going to study the city’s land use process, the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (Ulurp). He said the group is concerned that at times the process “serves as an impediment, rather than as an instrument of improvement, to proposals needed to spur job creation and develop desperately-needed housing.”

The City Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the rezoning Wednesday. It then moves on to the City Council, where it will be met with opposition from Menchaca.

Menchaca has urged his colleagues to vote against the rezoning. In a letter to fellow members last week, he criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio for failing to fund affordable housing in Sunset Park as a condition of the rezoning. He also noted that although Industry City developers agreed to eliminate hotels from their proposal and signed a community benefits agreement with Sunset Park residents, city law does not require them to abide by these pledges.

“There is nothing in the zoning laws that obligates landowners to deliver on any of the plans they offer,” he wrote. “This distinction between plans and their accountability is critical. Accountability is what separates serious projects from gambles on our constituents’ homes, jobs, and lives.”

Gyms and fitness centers can reopen as soon as next week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that gyms can open at partial capacity as soon as Aug. 24, Sasha Jones reports. Facilities can operate at 33 percent capacity if they have an air filtration system rated at MERV-13 or higher (to give you an idea what that means, hospitals typically have a MERV-14 or higher). If such a system cannot be installed, gyms must have an HVAC professional approve other steps to remove virus particles from the air. The locality’s inspection is also required within two weeks of opening.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has the option to delay gyms from reopening until Sept. 2 and can postpone indoor classes beyond that date. It seems the mayor might try to hold off even longer. “We’re going to be cautious with that local decision-making and choose to take a conservative approach,” de Blasio told NY1 this evening, adding that Health Department inspectors will prioritize schools over gyms. According to the New York Post, city officials indicated that gyms won’t be reopening anytime soon. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

What we’re thinking about: When will Corey Johnson weigh in on the Industry City rezoning? Send a note to [email protected].

CLOSING TIME

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Monday was for a condo at 553 West 30th Street in Hudson Yards at $4 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for two multifamily buildings at 34 and 36 Remsen Street, and two vacant lots at 37 and 39 Grace Court in Brooklyn Heights at $9.9 million.

BREAKING GROUND

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 189,907-square-foot mixed-use building at 496 Sutter Avenue in Brownsville. Rona Reodica of the Department of Housing Preservation filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET

The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo at 1212 Fifth Avenue on Upper East Side at $8 million. Compass has the listing.
— Research by Kevin Sun

A thing we’ve learned…

In the mid-1970s, the city considered calling its land use review process the “Standardized Land Use Review Procedure.” According to “The Concept of Community: Lessons from the Bronx” by Harold DeRienzo, that option was abandoned once someone realized its unfortunate acronym: SLURP. Thank you to this Twitter thread for unearthing this tidbit.

Elsewhere in New York

— Two people were charged with murder on Monday in connection to the 2002 killing of Jason Mizell, better known as Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay, the New York Times reports. Ronald Washington and Karl Jordan Jr., long considered suspects in Mizell’s death, are accused of killing the DJ after a cocaine deal went south. Both men pleaded not guilty.

— A large number of police retirements this year may shield the NYPD from mass layoffs, Politico New York reports. Between March 1 and Aug. 11, some 1,129 officers retired and another 1,550 filed for retirement. In the same period last year, 933 retired and 841 filed.

— Cuomo on Monday announced that 16 more liquor licenses have been suspended at New York bars for violating Covid-19 regulations. The state’s Covid crackdown has now claimed 148 liquor licenses.


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