A plethora of pols packed a second-floor conference room at Brooklyn’s Industry City Monday to hear CEO Andrew Kimball’s presentation of a $1 billion redevelopment of the 32-acre waterfront complex.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams regaled the crowd with his patented rhetorical flourishes. Sen. Marty Golden spoke of support from Albany and mispronounced the name of City Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who said the “planets are aligned” for Industry City. Representatives from the offices of Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand were on hand.
Not in attendance? A single person from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.
Mr. Kimball said Industry City needs new zoning from the city, including thumbs-up for a proposed parking lot and hotel complex, and $115 million in taxpayer-funded infrastructure improvements to complement the $1 billion in private investment. Mr. de Blasio is on a crusade to build 240,000 units of affordable and market-rate housing over 10 years, some of which he says will be in manufacturing zones. Whether he will ask for apartments to be included in the Industry City project is unclear, but Mr. Menchaca, many of his constituents and presumably the developers themselves are against the idea.
The absence of a representative from Mr. de Blasio’s office at the plan’s unveiling is an indication that the mayor will ask for something in exchange for new zoning. The rezoning would be subject to a seven-month public-review process called ULURP that solicits the opinion of the local community board and borough president and approval from the City Council and the mayor’s office. A spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning says a rezoning application has yet to be submitted.
A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio made no mention of housing in a statement about the project.
“We’re excited about the transformation at Industry City and investments that can complement our vision for a thriving manufacturing and innovation hub in Sunset Park,” the spokesman said. “We look forward to the public review process and hearing from stakeholders about the right uses to deliver for both this community and the city.”
One source expressed concern that the mayor would use the Industry City plan—which includes retail stores and a hotel—as a template for other manufacturing areas, where many City Council members’ longtime businesses don’t want such uses.
Industry City’s leaders met with the mayor’s planning commissioner, Carl Weisbrod, several times in the run-up to Monday’s announcement. Some insiders had expected the mayor to reveal his own vision for industrial development at a breakfast event last week, but instead he said that announcement would come soon.
If not housing, the administration would likely seek other commitments from the project developers, such as guarantees of local hiring and job training, and perhaps a wage floor for employees at the Sunset Park complex.
Mr. Kimball characterized initial conversations with the mayor’s office as entirely positive, but did not go into detail.
“I think our interests are very aligned,” he said.