Sunset Park

The potential of 737 4th Ave rezoning

New development can help put working families and good jobs in the center of our recovery

February 22, 2021 By Thomas LaGatta, Sunset Park resident
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Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the city I call home, with so many New Yorkers suffering from the virus and many others losing their jobs. In my community of Sunset Park and all over Brooklyn, the economic impact of the pandemic could not be more visible. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, at a time when it was easy to find a good job and an affordable place to live. However, the community that I love is now in desperate need of more family-sustaining jobs and affordable housing. In order to defeat the economic toll of this pandemic, we must put working families and good jobs in the center of our recovery – and we can do so through new development projects like the one at 737 4th Avenue, proposed by a local developer, Totem. As a thirty-year member of 32BJ, I’ve seen what stable, good-paying jobs can do for families. I‘ve also seen what happens to a community when nothing is being built. The proposed rezoning at 737 4th Avenue would deliver on both of these needs, ensuring that our neighborhoods can benefit from new developments while our workers can sustain a living.

Thomas LaGatta

My job as a building concierge has kept me and my family secure and healthy in the face of a global pandemic, that’s why I want the same opportunities for my community. The permanent prevailing wage jobs at 737 4th Avenue will have a real impact by providing family-sustaining wages, comprehensive healthcare, a secure pension, and other important benefits. These are the types of jobs that working families in Sunset Park deserve.

In addition, our community has fought hard to pass mandatory inclusionary housing (MIH) to ensure that projects have a minimum number of affordable units. We will see those units become a reality when this project is approved and we will gain new, affordable housing options that will benefit every corner of our community.

We see in the press that some people don’t want to see anything built, but we need to have consistent responsible development that brings important benefits with it, especially as we restore our community following the devastations of this pandemic. The over 1,000 32BJ members who live and work in Brooklyn Community District 7 understand the urgent need for jobs that can lift our neighbors up. 737 4th Avenue can bring in the types of jobs that can improve people’s lives and provide more units of affordable housing in our community. Opportunities like these lift up our neighborhoods; they help us move one step closer to an economy that works for the working people. We as a community cannot miss this chance.

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We can’t wait for one year or ten years to deliver more housing and good-paying jobs. We need them now. I ask our local leaders to support the project at 737 4th Ave and, in turn, deliver much-needed benefits to our recovering community.

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