Sunset Park small business owners urge City Council to approve Industry City rezoning

August 25, 2020 Editorial Staff
Industry City. Photo by Paul Frangipane

Noting that they are in a struggle for survival and that the livelihood of thousands of Sunset Park residents depends on it, small businesses in Sunset Park today called on Speaker Corey Johnson to approve the plan to reactivate Industry City.

Since the reactivation of Industry City began in 2013, the number of businesses at the industrial complex has grown from 150 to 550 and jobs have increased from 1,900 to 8,000. Nearly 40 percent of the people who work at Industry City are residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

Sunset Park small business owners pointed to the positive impact Industry City already has had on their businesses through the more than $400 million in private investment it has injected into the local economy – more than $100 million of which directly targeted neighborhood businesses. They also highlighted Industry City’s unprecedented private-sector-initiated workforce development initiative, which has served 5,000 individuals with job placement, training and small business services.

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This demonstration of public support from the Sunset Park small business community comes less than a week after the City Planning Commission approved the rezoning application.

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Randy Peers. Photo courtesy of Peers

“Small businesses across Brooklyn are suffocating in the midst of this historic economic crisis,” said Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “With the approval of Industry City’s rezoning proposal, Brooklyn has a real opportunity to lead the way forward for New York by creating jobs, generating economic activity, and putting thousands of our small businesses back on their feet.” Peers is the former Chairman of Community Board 7, which encompasses Industry City, and the former CEO of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, NYC’s largest youth workforce development agency, headquartered in Sunset Park.

“As a member of Community Board 7, I can tell you firsthand that the rezoning proposal for Industry City has significant support across Sunset Park,” said Kenny Guan, owner of Guan Realty. “Hundreds of small businesses like mine have benefited directly from the millions of private dollars invested by Industry City into local goods and services.”

“Industry City has been an excellent and supportive partner in propping up small businesses in the neighborhood, and the rezoning will continue to enhance and grow opportunities for hundreds of small businesses for years to come,” said Carlos Raldirez, owner of Mr. C’s Cycles.

“More doors are being opened and more opportunities are being created in Sunset Park, thanks to Industry City,” said Eric Aleman, owner of King of Kings Barber Shop. “I’ve seen it come full circle. From my mother working long hours at a Sunset Park sewing factory to my kids seeing the success of my shop. Its humbling being able to hire people from the neighborhood. With the approval of the Industry City rezoning, so many others will be able to have that experience too.”

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“I grew up in Sunset Park, and Industry City has been an exceptional partner for my local business,” said Jacqueline Capriles, co-owner of Diaz Electric. “As an MWBE contractor, the business-to-business opportunities that Industry City has created have helped businesses like mine – and others that have been here for generations – grow and thrive.”

“Industry City has provided my business a network of connections and partnerships right here in the neighborhood that I’ve always called home,” said Ana Diaz, president of Diaz Electric. “The number of opportunities created by Industry City for my business and my neighbors have been countless and the campus has become vital to the future of Sunset Park.”

“Thanks to the job training and career development services at Industry City, I’m now the head of manufacturing for one of the only eyewear manufacturers in the country,” said Darryle Hawes, manufacturing and operations manager for MFactory. “If not for a place like Industry City, where will young people learn the skills that will propel advanced manufacturing into the future? We need the City Council to approve Industry City’s plan so that the next generation of manufacturing finds a home here in Sunset Park.”

“We need leaders to recognize the importance of Industry City’s plan,” said Pat Whelan, president of Sahadi Fine Foods. “In the midst of a historic citywide crisis, it would be an abdication of responsibility for the City Council to say no to a plan that creates 20,000 jobs, attracts $1 billion in private investment, and generates $100 million annually in tax revenue for the city. We need leaders to step up now before it’s too late.”

“If not for Industry City, our factory would have had to move to Pennsylvania,” said Christopher Taylor, co-proprietor of Li-Lac Chocolates. “Industry City has delivered for us. It’s common sense: especially in today’s economic environment, Brooklyn needs Industry City’s plan to create thousands of jobs.”

“I’ve been in Sunset Park for over fifty years, and I wish we had an Industry City when I was a kid,” said Elizabeth Rojas of Mr. C’s Cycles. “Industry City has created jobs and opportunity in our neighborhood, and this plan is a perfect opportunity for our neighbors to continue to find work in Sunset Park.”

In recent weeks, Councilmembers Robert Cornegy, Ritchie Torres and Donovan Richards; labor groups including 32BJ SEIU and the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York; and civic organizations including the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the Association for a Better New York, and the Partnership for New York City all have called for the approval of Industry City’s plan.

The plan for Industry City is expected to be voted on in the NYC Council within the next 45 days.


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2 Comments

  1. Andrew Kimball

    What is this, a press release for your advertisers Industry City and the paid-off business council? Have some integrity? maybe get some quotes from business owners who are opposed to this rezoning. There are a number of us.

    • Florence Simancas

      Sunset Park does not need any more Hotels . Just on 39 & 40th streets from 3rd avenue up to 9th avenue there are at least 10 hotels . Two presently being built , one right across the street from one another on 39th St. between 8 & 9 Avenue . Sunset Park needs a Trade School that provides students with the skills necessary to succeed in a specific trade or occupation.