Pols express worry over de Blasio Sunset Park plan
Displacement through gentrification tops list of concerns
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to invest $142 million to create a Made in NY center for the food, fashion, film and TV industries at Bush Terminal is being largely greeted as welcome news for the community but the proposal has also raised concerns over possible negative impacts on local residents and businesses.
Four elected officials — Borough President Eric Adams, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca — three of whom represent parts of Sunset Park, have written a joint letter to de Blasio to urge him to keep the community in mind when implementing the new initiative.
Chief among their concerns is gentrification.
“While this announcement is very encouraging, there are many critical questions that need to be addressed and we are concerned about how the plan is being formulated. Sunset Park is experiencing extreme gentrification and displacement in residential and commercial properties. New investments must mitigate adverse effects on lease-holders at nearby properties not managed by the city,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter dated Feb. 15.
The elected officials are calling on the mayor to:
Include local Brooklyn stakeholders in the planning for Sunset Park’s manufacturing future.
Protect current residents and business owners who face gentrification pressures.
Treat tenants in city-owned and Economic Development Corporation-operated buildings in an equitable fashion.
Develop a comprehensive plan for the broader Sunset Park manufacturing area.
Place the Made in NY Campus in context with the activation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
Meanwhile, the mayor’s announcement was met with praise by leaders of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation (SBIDC), who vowed to work with the city to ensure that local residents will have access to the 1,500 jobs the project is expected to generate.
The Made in NY Campus is scheduled to open in 2020, according to the announcement by the mayor. The city plans to set up the campus in two underutilized buildings in Bush Terminal on 42nd Street near Second Avenue.
“SBIDC is excited at the prospect of a reactivated Bush Terminal, and its potential to once again be a home for local businesses and good industrial jobs,” leaders wrote in the organization’s newsletter. “With Brooklyn rents becoming increasingly expensive, investments in city-owned industrial properties ensure that manufacturing and the jobs that the manufacturing sector provides, can remain here on the Brooklyn working waterfront. We look forward to working closely with the city to ensure that Bush Terminal’s industrial future and new jobs will be accessible to the local community.”
Founded in 1978, SBIDC assists business owners and residents in Sunset Park, Red Hook and Gowanus. The organization’s offices are located at 241 41st St. in Sunset Park.
The mayor announced the Made in NY plan during his State of the City address on Monday.
“This is going to be the new center of garment manufacturing, a new hub of our great fashion industry here in our city, in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and a new film and TV studio combined — 1,500 permanent jobs will be created,” de Blasio said.
The city is focusing on the food, fashion, film, television and technology industries because they are fostering job growth, according to de Blasio.
John Brennan, associate director of Marcus & Millichap, said the mayor’s plan could have a positive effect on Sunset Park’s real estate market.
“I think it has the potential to continue the upward trend we’re seeing,” Brennan told the Brooklyn Eagle.
“The neighborhood already has all the fundamentals. There are commercial areas, transportation and of course, the park,” Brennan said, referring to Sunset Park, the bucolic recreation area located between 41st and 44th streets, from Fifth to Seventh avenues.
Brennan said he has seen changes in Sunset Park’s demographics over the past 18 months as more young people have moved in.
With the de Blasio administration creating 1,500 new jobs at Bush Terminal, the surrounding neighborhood will likely see an increased demand for more housing units, according to Brennan.
“People want to live near where they work,” he told the Eagle.
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