Borough President approves Industry City rezoning with list of conditions

industry city
Industry City.
Courtesy of Industry City

Borough President Eric Adams announced his support of the controversial Industry City rezoning on Monday — but only if the developers first adhere to a list of recommendations.

“These recommendations represent a holistic, comprehensive vision for the future of Industry City, to both address the needs of long-time Brooklynites and revitalize this long-neglected area by promoting the growth of good-paying jobs in maker industries for local residents,” Adams said in a statement.

The owners of Industry City, a 35-acre manufacturing hub on the Sunset Park waterfront, are looking to change the complex’s zoning to allow for a 12-year, $1 billion redevelopment that would add big box retail, academic spaces, and hotels to the campus.

The rezoning push has fiercely divided the largely immigrant, working-class neighborhood — with supporters arguing that the development would bring desperately-needed jobs, and critics charging that the glitzy new space will drive up rents and displace locals. 

Industry City executive Andrew Kimball officially submitted the rezoning application last October, kicking off the seven-month land use review process that allows various community stakeholders to weigh in before the application heads to the City Council for a final vote.

Together, the rezoning application consists of four articles — of which Adams approved three and disapproved one:

  • A zoning map amendment to change the land’s zoning designation (approved).
  • A zoning text amendment to expand the accepted uses for land (approved).
  • A special permit to allow Industry City to build according to the rules laid out in the zoning text (disapproved).
  • The de-mapping of 40th Street to transfer the roadway to Industry City’s control (approved).

However, Adams’ approval of the zoning map amendment and his disapproval of a special permit came with a list of conditions that the developers must adhere to as a predicate to his finalized recommendation. 

Like the local community board, the Beep’s biggest demands were that the builders restrict trucking terminals and warehouses, scrap plans for hotels on the site, and reduce the amount of retail space. 

Adams also called on the city to explore the possibility of opening a STEAM education center or technical high school within Industry City and provide funding for affordable housing and tenant advocacy groups, in addition to other conditions

Following the recommendation, Kimball lauded Adams’ vote, dubbing it a win for the rezoning application. 

“Borough President Eric Adams recognized the merits of this plan that builds for the future of Industry City, particularly its innovative approaches to creating career pathways through academic training and programs that will create greater and more equitable economic opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers,” he said in a statement. 

The plan, said Kimball, would provide the area with massive economic windfall.   

“As the plan moves forward in the public review process, we will continue working with community leaders as we make the case for the plan to create 20,000 jobs, attract $1 billion in private investment, and provide meaningful educational and training resources for all New York City residents,” he said.

Activists, meanwhile, slammed Adams’ approval of the project — claiming his conditions were not nearly enough to justify such development. 

“Instead of standing to protect Sunset Park, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is siding with Industry City’s landlords to replace our manufacturing waterfront with a large luxury retail mall,” said Michael Medina, a Sunset Park resident who works with the grassroots group Protect Sunset Park. “We need our elected officials to prioritize a public waterfront plan. Not another corporate rezoning.”

The City Planning Commission will issue its recommendations for the rezoning before it moves to the City Council. 

Sunset Park Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who wields outsize power over the application’s passage, has indicated that he is “prepared to vote no” on the plan, since the application will likely land in City Hall before his set of demands are met.