Sunset Park’s hotel boom paving way for condos in industrial areas, factory fans warn

Unwelcome guest?: This hotel — being built on manufacturing-zoned land at 30th Street and Fourth Avenue — is a harbinger of high-priced housing, critics say.
Brooklyn Paper
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These short-stays may be part of a longer game.

Developers are building hotels in industrial sections of Sunset Park and Green-Wood Heights at breakneck pace in order to get areas rezoned for luxury housing, according to real-estate watchers. Builders cannot put apartments on manufacturing land, but they can create hotels there — and doing so paves the way for future housing development, which can demolish good-paying jobs, one advocate warns.

“As an organization, we have a huge concern about hotels in industrial zones,” said David Meade, director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Cooperation. “I think our community is certainly not looking for any kind of residential conversion along the waterfront — we want businesses to stay there. But hotels could ultimately be the types of uses that could further push the pendulum that way.”

The city makes the rules about what can be built where, and it says you cannot put apartments on land zoned for a factory, but build enough hotels and officials have an easier time justifying rezoning for residences, because there is existing housing, advocates say. Then erstwhile hoteliers will turn the growing number of inns — many of which are currently being used as temporary homeless shelters — into apartments, another real-estate observer said.

“A lot of people — including myself — believe that hotels are being built in these areas to encourage zoning changes, because if it changes, they can easily knock down walls and convert hotels into housing,” said David Powell, a director at the Fifth Avenue Committee, which builds and manages low-income housing.

The push for residential development on industrial waterfronts has uprooted manufacturing before. In 2005, as Williamsburg and Greenpoint rose in popularity, the city rezoned a 75-block swath of the neighborhoods from industrial to mixed-use residential — the result was a boom of luxury condominiums construction.

Mayor DeBlasio has pledged to make it tougher for developers to build hotels in Industrial Business Zones — areas with special tax credits meant to spur manufacturing — but he has said little on the proposal over the last year. His plan would require special approval for any hotel within an Industrial Business Zone, and he intends to let the public see his idea in greater detail in a few months, a rep said.

“The administration is on track to submit proposals for public review by the end of the year,” said mayoral spokeswoman Melissa Grace.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2517. Follow him on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
They should be ignored until they have an idea of where housing should go. "Allow more housing in the residential zones to reduce pressure on manufacturing zones" is a position that makes sense.
Oct. 13, 2016, 8:09 am
Kathryn from Sunset Park says:
Builders are coming because there is reasonably priced waterfront property within a 30-minute commute of Manhattan. There are very few good-paying, permanent manufacturing jobs being created and there is no reason these businesses should command a spectacular view of the skyline. At a time of a severe housing shortage and limited US manufacturing, the current urban planning is out of touch. Hotels don't make a neighborhood. Housing does.
Oct. 13, 2016, 8:53 am
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
Bay Ridge can build a few hotels around the area 88 to 90 ST between 4 and 5 AV.
Oct. 13, 2016, 10:12 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
The problem with rezoning previous or current manufacturing areas to residential zoming is the majority of housing goes to high income tenants or condo owners, pushing the lower classes out, and fleacing the middle class with 50% of income rents. And sadly, it seems the only real reason rezoning happens is from the pay to play corruption process in NYC. If I were a Sunset park resident, I would make sure my politicans know to reject any rezoning unless it helps the community, and not the soon to be rich people living in NYC.
Oct. 13, 2016, 12:09 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
It would be perfectly fair for Sunset Park residents to demand that Park Slope be upzoned instead of having even more of it sealed off under a historic designation. Why can the wealthy neighborhood close its borders and force overflow onto Sunset Park?

However, we NEVER see NIMBYs in one neighborhood demand more development in other ones. There is solidarity among the rich and the poor to keep newcomers out.
Oct. 13, 2016, 5:19 pm
Ana from Greenwood says:
As a resident of the area I have to say the city is making life easier & cheaper for those people who want to be part of the city (Manhattan) they get to work there while living in greenwood making rent prices ridiculous higher .I live on 29th st a block away from where this hotel is been build a few buildings from where I live I see people every 2-3 weeks moving in moving out cause they can afford rent & buildings owners are making harder for big families to find a place to live because all the are doing is renting as a studio to make more money ...why not use those empty lots to beautyfy the neighborhood instead of damaging it ...A hotel right across from a school why not used that space to help the school is a great school & they don't have space for a gym the convert the cafeteria into a lunchroom cause they don't have space & with expensive store like saks of fifth ave opening down the block it's just going to get worse !
Oct. 14, 2016, 9:48 am

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