Sunset Park

Hotels, academic facilities and big stores planned for Industry City

Public hearing set for Tuesday about zoning changes to make expansion possible

October 24, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Industry City's owners want to have the Sunset Park complex rezoned. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Industry City’s owners want to build two hotels, academic facilities and big stores.

They want to expand the Sunset Park manufacturing and techie-friendly office complex’s size by about 1.27 million square feet.

They plan to acquire property for the expansion, if possible.

In order to carry out their plans, they need city zoning changes.

The public review process for the rezoning they’re seeking starts this week with a Department of City Planning hearing. It is scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at 22 Reade St. in Lower Manhattan.

Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball held a media briefing about the century-old complex on Monday afternoon, in advance of the hearing.

Belvedere Capital and Jamestown are the lead owners of Industry City. It is currently about 5.3 million square feet in size, a public notice issued by the Department of City Planning indicates.

Since the real-estate investors began their overhaul of the historic property in 2013, they’ve invested $250 million in its fix-up — and $160 million of that money was spent on deferred maintenance, Kimball told reporters at the briefing. It was held at the Innovation Lab, which is an Industry City facility that offers job training and job-placement services.

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In the past three years, the number of jobs at Industry City has increased to 6,500 from 1,900, he said. Underutilized space at Industry City has been reduced by 14 percent.

Though progress has been made in revitalizing the complex, “we’ve got a long, long way to go,” Kimball said.

By 2026, if Industry City is rezoned and proposed development is carried out, Kimball expects onsite employment will grow to 13,000 and 7,000 off-site jobs will be generated.

Academic-facilities site already belongs to Industry City

He showed reporters a drawing of the bulk and massing of Industry City’s existing buildings. The drawing indicates where new buildings would be constructed if rezoning is approved.

One new building site is on the corner of 32nd Street and Second Avenue. A power plant there would be demolished. Kimball said at the media briefing that the power plant already belongs to Industry City.

Building 11, as the new structure would be called, would have eight floors of academic facilities, three floors of parking and two floors of retail space, the drawing indicates.

Also, Building 9 would have six floors of academic facilities. This existing building is adjacent to the proposed development site.  

One hotel on 39th Street, one hotel on Third Avenue

The hotels Industry City plans to build would have a combined total of about 420 rooms.  

In order to build them, Industry City’s owners need special permits.

At this time, they are seeking a special permit for only one of the hotels, which they would build on the corner of 39th Street and First Avenue.

Kimball said 85 percent of this site already belongs to Industry City. If the owners of the remainder of the site don’t wish to sell their property, the hotel could be built around it.

The new construction, which would be called Building 21, would have five floors of hotel space, three floors of so-called “Innovation Economy” space for entrepreneurs, three floors of parking and two floors of retail space, the drawing of Industry City’s buildings indicates.

Industry City’s owners plan to seek a special permit for the construction of a second hotel at some future time. Its proposed site is a row of low-rise buildings on Third Avenue and the corner of 36th Street.

The Gateway Building, which is what it would be called, would have 11 floors of hotel space and one floor of retail space, the drawing of Industry City’s buildings indicates.

The properties on this site do not belong to Industry City’s owners.

Asked if Industry City’s owners would try to acquire property through eminent domain for the two proposed hotels, Kimball said no.

He also said that instead of constructing new buildings, Industry City’s owners could decide to construct additional floors on top of existing buildings.

Rezoning opponents plan to speak at Tuesday’s hearing

Members of some Sunset Park civic groups plan to speak in opposition to the rezoning of Industry City at the Tuesday hearing, according to a media advisory sent out on Monday.

The groups that issued the media alert include UPROSE, which is an inter-generational, multiracial grassroots organization, and Protect Our Working Waterfront Alliance, which focuses on preserving and expanding blue-collar manufacturing jobs in Sunset Park.

They contend that Industry City’s rezoning would “accelerate the loss of high-quality manufacturing jobs that Sunset Park residents depend on,” the media advisory says.

 

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