Councilmember Nixes Rezoning Request for Massive Brooklyn Redevelopment Project

Gentrification and displacement concerns won the day over a plan to rezone a former industrial area in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for new retail, offices, hotels and restaurants.

August 11, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Sunset Park, Brooklyn

The Bush Terminal Piers Park is located just to the south of the site of the proposed Industrial City redevelopment. | Emma_Griffiths / Shutterstock

"Plans to rezone Industry City are, once again, dead on arrival — should the developer decide to move forward," reports Kathryn Brenzel from Brooklyn

The grim reality for the project hit home after local councilmember Carlos Menchaca recently announced strong opposition to the project, proposed by developers Jamestown, Belvedere Capital, Cammeby’s International and Angelo, Gordon & Co.

The plan would have rezoned a 35-acre complex, which once housed heavy manufacturing, to expand its current capacity of retail, offices, hotels and restaurants. "Due to the coronavirus, the process has been halted since March and is expected to restart in September," according to Brenzel.

In New York City land use politics, the larger City Council usually acts in solidarity with a local councilmember's preference on project approvals to preserve each councilmember's own local veto power, according to Brenzel. 

According to a separate article on the same subject by Karina Piser, "The outcome is the culmination of more than a decade of community organizing and lobbying by grassroots groups advocating for environmental justice and against gentrification. Chief among them are Uprose and Protect Sunset Park, which organized rallies, distributed petitions, coordinated community strikes, pressured Industry City executives directly, and hosted workshops and information sessions."

If you noticed a resemblance between this controversy and the defunct plan to welcome the second headquarters of Amazon to Long Island City in Queens, you wouldn't be the first.

The developers have yet to officially pull the rezoning application, and a project spokesperson quoted by Brenzel seems to indicate the developer's hope that "City Council Speaker Corey Johnson would negotiate a rezoning and marshall support from Menchaca’s colleagues to approve it."

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