Sunset keeps booming.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and members of New York’s fashion, film, and television industries showed up at Sunset Park’s Bush Terminal, 13 42nd Street, to announce that the historic building will be converted into a Made in New York campus, which is slated to be completed in three years and create over 1,000 jobs.
The press conference, held on Tuesday, February 14, revealed that the city has made a $136 million investment in the facility which will encompass a newly constructed 100,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art film and television production facility, as well as major renovations to two existing buildings to create nearly 200,000 square feet of garment manufacturing space.
“This new Made in New York campus is a great example of how we are going to move forward,” said de Blasio. “The city is giving $136 million to take these older, underutilized industrial buildings and bring them into the modern age and make them right for the 21st century economy so you’re going to see, starting in 2020, this whole area come alive and you’re going see jobs created in film, television, garment and advanced manufacturing.
“The Made in New York Center here takes advantage in all of our strengths of our workforce and in this case, the extraordinary flavor and character of this area in Brooklyn,” added de Blasio. “The TV and film studios here aren’t going to only shoot indoors but outdoors and they have plenty here in this part of Brooklyn to draw on in terms of local color and different locations.”
Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development also revealed an educational aspect of the project. “Today, we are really thrilled to announce that our partners at Fashion Institute of Technology are going to be launching courses in Sunset Park this summer so that more of our public university students, high school students and folks that just want to take a course to get the skills they need to be part of that economy can get in that front door.”
District Manager of Community Board 7 Jeremy Laufer was impressed. “The investment is very exciting and I was very happy to hear about making connections with the local workforce,” he told this paper. “It’d be great to have more of these businesses local. Our local high school has a performing and visual arts component so I would like to see connections made between the film and television portion of this and our local high school for internships and applying for jobs.”
Transportation to the production space and the potential benefits of the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX) were also addressed. “This area has a good start in terms of mass transit because of the subway being relatively nearby and bus routes, but this is part of why we believe BQX is important,” de Blasio said. “We think adding more transportation options gives people more reason to want to build their businesses in the area as it’s obviously easier for workers to get there. We’re going to stick to that vision, but in the meantime as these jobs are created, certainly the transportation that is here now is a good start at getting people to these jobs.”
Elected officials also chimed in on the announcement.
“I am pleased that Sunset Park residents will have priority status when applying for jobs at the new film and fashion facilities in the Bush Terminal,” said Assemblymember Felix Ortiz. “Sunset Park is at a crossroads as new development and rebuilding at the waterfront bring new challenges. Good jobs will help the local economy, as subway lines are also rebuilt and efforts are made to limit increased truck traffic in the community.”
“This investment should not only rebuild the decay in our infrastructure, it should also strengthen our relationship with each other. We can do that by keeping the momentum going, ensuring this investment ushers in substantial local engagement, accountability and benefits,” added Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.