The brakes have been put on Industry City’s rezoning plans.
After a week of controversy — with local elected officials demanding that the community be consulted — the Department of City Planning announced on March 8 that Industry City has agreed to delay kicking off its rezoning application and the public review process (ULURP) that it entails. The process was originally supposed to begin at the March 11 meeting of the City Planning Commission.
The plan incorporates a 10-year, $1 billion redevelopment that would increase IC’s total usable space from 5.3 to 6.6 million square feet and create 15,000 on-site jobs through the building of hotels, as well as additional retail space and academic centers.
“In consideration of the request made by our City Councilmember and community board, Industry City has agreed to postpone public review of the proposed rezoning of the property,” said Lisa Serbaniewicz, an Industry City spokesperson, who pointed out the growth that Industry City has brought to the area over the past several years. Currently, 7,500 people are employed at over 500 businesses, within the complex, a nearly 400 percent growth in the number of jobs over the last five years.
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and Community Board 7 Chairperson Cesar Zuniga, who had written to Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball earlier in the week suggesting the postponement of the application, were pleased with the news.
“This is the right call and we thank Industry City for living up to its prior commitments to engage with the Sunset Park community by delaying its ULURP application,” they wrote in a joint statement.
“In addition to needing time to complete the community engagement process started last year, a critical and transparent analysis of the rezoning proposal’s possible impacts on displacement must be analyzed before starting ULURP. We look forward to working with Industry City in a community-led process to ensure the rezoning proposal benefits the entire Sunset Park community.”
Not long before the announcement of the delay was made, Rep. Nydia Velázquez, Rep. Jerrold Nadler and State Sen. Zellnor Myrie wrote a joint letter to DCP Director and CPC Chairperson Marisa Lago advocating for the delay of IC’s application rezoning plan.
The three elected officials contended that rezoning could lead to displacement, rising rents, pollution and congestion.
“This would not only counter our efforts of the past 20 years to restore Brooklyn’s industrial position but supercharge the displacement and gentrification that is undermining Sunset Park’s affordability and blue-collar job base,” they wrote.
From CB7’s perspective, said Zuniga, “We just feel like we need a little bit more time to close the loop on what we think of as the community-led process. We feel like there’s still a lot to wrap our collective heads around and more community that we still want to hear from. Let’s not rush the process. If the application were to be released, it would just feel rushed to us and it would undermine the work that we put in so far.”
That’s something that Industry City accepts. “We fully appreciate the desire to continue that meaningful economic growth while ensuring it aligns with the broader needs of the entire community,” said Serbaniewicz.