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Industry City CEO pushes for rezoning, special permit for Sunset Park District

Four years after Industry City was launched at a 5.3 million s/f industrial site in Sunset Park, the complex is gearing up for more changes as it eyes a rezoning that executives say will bring in $1 billion in investment.

Andrew Kimball, the CEO of Industry City, is launching a push to rezone Industry City from its current status as a M3-1 heavy manufacturing zone to a M2-4, the lightest manufacturing use, with an additional special permit for a Sunset Park Innovation District.

Andrew Kimball

They will also file for a special permit to develop two hotels and more retail spaces.

By 2026, executives want to increase the amount of jobs at Industry City from 4,500 to 13,000, and generate more than 7,000 jobs off-site. They hope to increase total capital investment to $1 billion, increase usable square footage at the site from 5.3 million to 6.6 million, and create new ground-floor uses and academic space.

On Monday, Kimball held a press briefing outlining the next steps Industry City will take in its quest for rezoning, which they expect could be finished by the fall of 2018. The presentation was followed by a scoping meeting in Lower Manhattan Tuesday, that invited public comment on the complex’s plans.

A community group promised to attend the scoping meeting ahead of the event to speak out against Industry City’s rezoning plan, which they say would “accelerate the loss of good-quality manufacturing jobs that Sunset Park residents depend on,” according to a press release from members of UPROSE and Protect Our Working Waterfront Alliance (POWWA).

During the press briefing Monday, Kimball addressed those concerns over what some residents worry is gentrification that will negatively affect the neighborhood’s current residents.

“This project is part of the solution, not part of the problem,” said Kimball. “We’re part of the jobs equation.”

Kimball pointed out that one out of five people who live and work in Sunset Park are employees of Industry City. They are projecting that the proposed rezoning would create an additional 14,000 jobs, many of which would serve the area residents.

“That’s the best selling point for this project, it’s not me sitting here, it’s coming and see the businesses,” said Kimball. “We’re creating good paying jobs, for people to work near where they live, and providing opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

“What I will say is you can have all the affordable housing you want but if you don’t have good paying access to jobs and places where small businesses grow, what’s the point of building the housing.”

The complex is also seriously eyeing adding more retail, an area where they see big demand.

“We think Brooklyn still is under-retailed,” said Kimball. “We have 35 acres, 16 buildings, we think there’s a real opportunity to do more retail here.”

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