Industry City CEO urges City Council to support rezoning

August 21, 2020 Editorial Staff
Planning Commission to recommend approval of Industry City plan
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Following the City Planning Commission’s overwhelming 11-1 approval of the plan to create 20,000 jobs through the reactivation of Industry City, IC CEO Andrew Kimball wrote to New York City councilmembers urging them to approve the application.

Originally proposed more than 5 years ago, the plan — which would allow the full reuse of the privately owned 16-building campus by updating zoning regulations put in place more than 50 years ago — now enters the final stage of the public review and approval process.

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In the letter, Kimball reaffirmed Industry City’s long-standing commitment to remove hotels and reduce the amount of proposed retail space. In a reference to Amazon’s failed attempt to create a new headquarters in Long Island City, Kimball said, “We have learned from mistakes made by others in as much as we never sought to avoid the review process, and rather than engage a community as an afterthought, we’ve been creating partnerships, engaging in a public dialogue, creating and supporting community-based programs, and creating opportunity for area residents for more than five years.”

Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball. Photo: Andy Katz/Brooklyn Eagle
The reactivation of the long-dormant industrial hub began in 2013. Under Kimball’s tenure, the number of jobs at Industry City has grown from 1,900 in 2013 to some 8,000 on-site as of March 2020. Since 2013, IC has invested $400 million in private funding into the campus, and through this rezoning the proposal promises to unlock another $600 million in private investment.

The letter sent to the City Council also directly refutes the criticisms leveled by local Councilmember Carlos Menchaca. In it, Kimball reinforces that:

  • Industry City agreed prior to the start of ULURP to the 10 conditions presented by the councilmember and Community Board 7;
  • A broad and growing cross-section of civic, business, labor and elected leaders and residents in Sunset Park and across the five boroughs has publicly voiced support for the plan; and
  • Industry City’s commitment to creating 20,000 jobs is supported by the hard evidence of its track record over the last seven years in which small businesses at the campus grew from 150 to 550 and jobs from 1,900 to 8,000, while IC’s Innovation Lab has served more than 5,000 individuals with job placement, training and small business services.

The proposal now enters the final stage of the public approval process with growing momentum. In recent weeks, the proposal has earned the support of organized labor (including the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and 32BJ SEIU); citywide civic organizations (the Association for a Better New York and Partnership for New York City); business groups (the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Tech NYC); elected officials (Councilmembers Robert Cornegy Jr., Ritchie Torres and Donovan Richards); and Sunset Park residents and small business owners.

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