Sunset Park

Should Industry City be rezoned? Sunset Park workers sound off

April 1, 2019 Lore Croghan
New Yorkers who work in or near Sunset Park's Industry City, including Carmen Pena, gave us their thoughts on the proposed rezoning.

The head honchos of Sunset Park’s mammoth Industry City office, retail and light-manufacturing complex want the city to grant zoning changes so they can build hotels, academic facilities and big stores.

At the urging of City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca and other local politicians, the public review process for this proposed rezoning has been halted temporarily.

Its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, is on hold for the moment. But the rezoning question is on the mind of everybody in the neighborhood.

On Sunset Park’s Third Avenue, workers near — or in — Industry City sounded off last week about the proposed rezoning.

Here’s a glimpse of Industry City, where rezoning is contemplated. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Here’s a glimpse of Industry City, where rezoning is contemplated. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Sunset Park’s gotten ‘much better’ thanks to Industry City

Yes. Please. Expand Industry City and bring more jobs to Sunset Park, Carmen Pena said.

“It’s a good idea,” Pena, a customer service associate at Sunset Beer on Third Avenue, said of the proposed Industry City rezoning. “If it’s going to create a lot of jobs for the people, that would be perfect. A lot of people in Sunset Park are looking for work.

“The neighborhood is growing and getting so much better than it was 20 years ago,” Pena said. “And Industry City helped that.”

The businesses that have already moved to Industry City have brought the beer distributor where Pena works a lot of new customers, she said.

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Carmen Pena of Sunset Beer says yes to proposed Industry City rezoning. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Carmen Pena of Sunset Beer says yes to proposed Industry City rezoning. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

More foot traffic for local businesses

“From a business point of view, rezoning would create more walk-in traffic for us,” said Tommy Feng, who works at Galactic Tiles on Third Avenue. “And it would create more jobs.”

But Feng is concerned about the possible downside of Industry City’s proposed expansion.

“It will drive up property values. Our business’s rent will be higher,” he predicted.

“And people who live here, their rents would go up,” he said.

“I appreciate that rezoning might bring problems, but I’d really like us to have more business,” Feng said. “As it is, Industry City has definitely brought us more walk-in customers.”

Tommy Feng of Galactic Tiles sees pros and cons to the proposed Industry City rezoning. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Tommy Feng of Galactic Tiles sees pros and cons to the proposed Industry City rezoning. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

‘A mini-Amazon in Sunset Park’

Don’t. Do. It. That’s what Patrick Blaney thinks.

“Industry City should not be rezoned,” said Blaney, who works at a business in the complex.

Saying no to the proposed rezoning “would protect the people who live here and the industries here, and preserve a way of life that’s been here a long time,” he said.

Rezoning could turn Industry City into “kind of like a mini-Amazon in Sunset Park,” he said.

Just say no to Industry City rezoning, says Patrick Blaney, who works in the complex. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Just say no to Industry City rezoning, says Patrick Blaney, who works in the complex. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

‘It feels risky’

Emma Shakarshy, who works near Industry City, worries that its rezoning might cause Sunset Park residents’ displacement.

“What if it affects people’s rents?” she asked. “That would reduce Sunset Park to a different version of what it is now.

“It feels risky,” she said.

Emma Shakarshy says the proposed rezoning “feels risky.” Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Emma Shakarshy says the proposed rezoning “feels risky.” Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

‘We need hotels here’

Should Industry City be rezoned? “Absolutely,” said Ralph Staiano, who works at Distinctive Window Treatment Plus on Third Avenue.

“Those wharves over on the waterfront, they’re dead now. We’ve got tech companies moving in,” Staiano said. “The Brooklyn Nets practice here.

“We need hotels here,” he said.

Ralph Staiano of Distinctive Window Treatment Plus says yes to the proposed rezoning. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Ralph Staiano of Distinctive Window Treatment Plus says yes to the proposed rezoning. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

‘I’ve been waiting 28 years for something to happen’

A deli owner at the edge of Industry City said, “I don’t know how I feel anymore” about the proposed rezoning.

“I don’t want people to be displaced,” said Teddy, the owner of Hero Champ on Third Avenue. “But I’ve been waiting 28 years for something to happen here.

“Rezoning would help all the small businesses here,” said Teddy, who didn’t give his last name. “The hotel they’d build would be right across the street. That would be ideal for me.”

Follow Brooklyn Eagle reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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