Building big on the banks: Massive distribution center to rise near mouth of Gowanus Canal

Coming soon: The country’s largest distribution center is slated to rise in the coming years at an 18-acre site dubbed Sunset Industrial Park, on Third Avenue between 19th and 21st streets.
Bridge Development Partners and DH Property Holdings

Developers will erect what they claim will be the country’s largest distribution center on an 18-acre site near the mouth of the Gowanus Canal, after purchasing the massive swath of land earlier this year.

The four-story facility will occupy more than 22 football fields’ worth of Third Avenue land between 19th and 21st streets, which real-estate firms Bridge Development Partners and DH Property Holdings purchased for $255 million in early January, according to Bridge Development Partners executive Jeff Milanaik.

The center will feature a so-called “intricate ramping system” to transport goods to awaiting tractor trailers, which will shuttle its yet-to-be-determined inventory on same-day deliveries to final destinations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, according to the developers.

The builders have yet to court any prospective tenants for the facility, said Milanaik, and they currently do not know how many trucks will be driving to and from it each day. But any increase in big rigs on local streets is likely to rile nearby Sunset Parkers, who last year demanded the city conduct a truck-impact study as officials moved forward with their plans to revitalize the commercial shipping hub at the neighborhood’s South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.

Work at the massive site will begin in about two years, and start with the demolition of the current FedEx Ship Center at 20th Street and Third Avenue and more than other nearby 30 buildings, none of which are residential, according to Milanaik.

The builders will construct the distribution center under the area’s current zoning law, he said, so their scheme will not require city approval via the public Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.

The developers claim the forthcoming facility will create new jobs on-site and in the surrounding neighborhoods, but Milanaik said it is too early to determine the exact amount or types of jobs that may open up, adding that the builders will keep locals in the loop about the project’s progress and employment opportunities.

“As we get closer to the start of the demolition and redevelopment phases, the development company will coordinate with the local community to keep them informed as the project starts and progresses,” he said.

The top staffer of local Community Board 7, District Manager Jeremy Laufer, said the panel does not have any information about the distribution center beyond the details the developers publicly shared when they closed the deal to buy the land.

And one of the facility’s builders is not new to the area. DH Property Holdings honchos in 2017 purchased a four-acre plot in nearby Red Hook from real-estate firm 601 West Companies — the same company that sold them the Third Avenue land this year — where they plan to build a space the size of six football fields for e-commerce tenants, according to a Real Deal report.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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