Plans are moving forward for the soon-to-be-revitalized South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), the 72-acre industrial space for which the city approved a 39-year Master Lease earlier this year.
On Friday, December 4, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released a Request for Proposals (RPF) for maritime businesses to operate at the large space in an effort to create quality jobs for the community as well as reduce harbor traffic by the end of 2016.
Under the plan, cargo ships that would have docked in New Jersey will be docking here in Brooklyn, bringing good jobs, taking trucks off the streets and helping spur this growing industrial hub.
NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer discussed the value of the waterfront. “SBMT will play a vital role in our efforts to provide New York City businesses with the additional transportation and logistical capabilities necessary to move products across the region and country, driving economic growth, helping to improve the resiliency of our freight and transportation networks, and creating even more opportunities for the Sunset Park community,” she said.
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who has had his share of disagreements with EDC in the past, such as when he refused to go along with an accelerated approval process for the lease of the facility this past January because of concerns that the community had been excluded from giving meaningful input, is pleased with the deal and sees great potential for the area.
“Releasing the request for proposals to find a long-term tenant at SBMT is an important milestone,” he said. “The final version of the RFP came with close consultation with a task force of Sunset Park business owners and community organizations that facilitated input and direct community outreach at public meetings. This represents an improved working relationship between EDC and our community.”
Community Board 7 (CB 7) also expressed its satisfaction with the SBMT’s progression and potential. “CB 7 is pleased by the continuation of smart development along the Sunset Park waterfront,” said Daniel Murphy, the board chair . “We are looking forward to a partnership with our city agencies and local elected officials throughout the process in order to spur development of the waterfront that is in line with the community district’s stated principals of sustainability, economic opportunity and public accessibility.”
Another benefit of the plan would be reduced traffic. “Activating South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will reduce cross-harbor truck traffic, while strengthening Sunset Park’s local economy,” said Congressmember Nydia Velázquez.
“We can see a renewed future for the south Brooklyn waterfront, like jobs, growth and environmental fairness all in one package,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in June during the announcement of the reactivation of the new maritime shipping hub, labeling the move as a game changer. “A typical waterfront job has a starting pay of about $40,000 a year with benefits, rising to an average of $80,000 a year. These are solid jobs and obviously generally are unionized guaranteed.”
According to the EDC, potential uses for the site include marine container loading and unloading, bulk and breakbulk stevedoring, and vehicle and equipment import and export utilizing maritime transport.