Sunset Park

Industry City owners investing $1 billion in complex

Sunset Park to become hub of innovation, manufacturing

March 9, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Andrew Kimball (right) CEO of Industry City, unveiled plans to re-develop the Sunset Park site as an innovation and manufacturing hub. He is pictured with Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo Scissura, Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, and state Sen. Marty Golden (left to eight). Eagle photo by Paula Katinas
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The owners of Industry City are pumping $1 billion into the 16-building complex on the Sunset Park waterfront with an eye toward transforming the site into a hub of innovation and manufacturing businesses over the next 12 years, according to an ambitious plan unveiled Monday.

Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City, said the plan calls for enticing new businesses to rent space in Industry City, the establishment of university-based academic training centers at the site, the construction of a new hotel and the construction of a parking lot, among other amenities.

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Kimball, who unveiled the plan at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce meeting in an Industry City building at 220 36th St., predicted that 20,000 jobs would be created. Kimball is the former CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and oversaw the transition of that site.

Many of the Industry City jobs will go to Sunset Park residents, according to Kimball, who said Industry City is “committed to engagement in community priorities.” Hiring locally is not only good for a neighborhood, “its smart business,” he said, because “local people tend to stay in a job longer” than someone who has to travel far to get to work.

Industry City is a 6 million-square foot collection of 16 historic warehouses on the waterfront located between 31st and 40th streets in Sunset Park.

The property owners, Belevedere Capital, Jamestown Properties, Angelo Gordon, in partnership with Cammeby’s International and FBE Limited, have already invested $100 million into Industry City, an investment that Kimball said has led to the leasing of 850,000 square feet of space and the creation of 1,500 jobs over the past 18 months.

But Kimball said that while “it has been a good 18 months,” only five percent of the available space in Industry City is now occupied.

Industry City boasts 6 million square feet of space and is home to a wide variety of businesses; everything from Fodera, a guitar maker, to Li-Lac Chocolates, which makes sweet treats.

The construction of a hotel will require a zoning change for the property. Under current city zoning, a hotel could not be built on the property. Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) said he plans to start a community education process so that the public understands the city’s Uniformed Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) the mechanism through which many of the changes being sought would be made. It’s important that community’s voice be heard in the process, he said.

“There are pieces of this that we’re going to look at. The planets have aligned to do something really special,” Menchaca said.

Community Board Seven will be required to review the zoning plans.

The property owners will also ask the de Blasio Administration for improvements to local infrastructure, including the streets and sidewalks in and around Industry City. Kimball said the proposal calls for elevated, eight-foot-wide sidewalks, the construction of 33 new loading docks, a ferry slip at 39th Street and the creation new bike lanes in the area.

“This is a long-term project,” Kimball said. “We get it; it’s going to take awhile.”

In addition to bike lanes, there have been preliminary discussions with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority about putting a new bus line on First Avenue, according to state Sen. Marty Golden. “We need more cross-town buses as well,” Golden said.

Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is excited about the plans and is eager to work with Industry City to make sure that local residents do indeed get jobs at Industry City. “We are going to make sure people from Sunset Park and Red Hook get a piece of the pie,” he said.

“It’s jobs, jobs, jobs,” Golden said.

Borough President Eric Adams, who called Kimball “the LeBron James of innovation,” said the prospect of 20,000 jobs being created is exciting. “Twenty-thousand jobs means 20,000 lives,” he said. “A job is a precursor that allows you to dream.”



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