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Brooklynites react to reports of potential Amazon facility in Sunset Park’s Industry City

What till Amazon deliver?: New Yorkers are split over how a huge Amazon logistics facility would impact Sunset Park.
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With Amazon reportedly eyeing up to 1 million square feet of space within Sunset Park’s Industry City for a new storage and shipping facility, locals are split on what the tech giant’s presence could mean for the largely working-class, immigrant community.

One longtime resident said the neighborhood doesn’t need the type of no-skill labor that Amazon’s factories employ, and that what Sunset Park really needs are more high-paying, skilled manufacturing jobs.

“What do distribution centers give?” asked Adrian Roman, a Sunset Park resident and a member of a community organization called El Grito. “Those are low paying jobs. They don’t really help the community.”

Amazon distribution facilities have provided residents in other communities throughout the city with thousands of jobs, but not all employees have spoken highly of the work. A disgruntled employee at the Staten Island fulfillment center told the New York Times in March that the company cracked down on an attempt to unionize, in addition to forcing employees to work long hours with few breaks, although a subsequent Times investigation disputed some of those claims.

But the Staten Island employee is not alone: In the last few months, Amazon’s poor working conditions have become an international focus. On July 15, workers across the U.S. and in five countries went on strike to protest the company’s low wages and dangerous working conditions. Sunset Park’s Councilman Carlos Menchaca echoed those complaints when responding to the potential Amazon facility in Industry City.

“If Industry City is serious about being a good neighbor and having Sunset Park’s best interests in mind, it will not do business with companies that are aiding in the terrorization of immigrants or treats its workers like robots,” he said on Thursday.

Roman also worried about Amazon’s use of facial recognition technology, which the company has pitched to police departments so that cops can find suspects. Since a large portion of Sunset Park is undocumented, Roman feared that such technology could put residents at risk of deportation.

But others see the potential Amazon expansion in Brooklyn as a sign of progress. The company already has a local presence, renting a space in Sunset Park’s Liberty View Plaza right next to Industry City. And many say that distribution center’s jobs are already part of the ecosystem of Sunset Park’s working waterfront.

“It’s going to be a huge plus,” said Jeffery Citron, a real estate lawyer, who has seen the positive impact of tech companies on New York’s economy.

“A distribution facility has to have blue-collar jobs,” he added. “That could be great for the surrounding community.”

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306.
Updated 5:24 pm, July 26, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Drg from Sunset Park says:
Random real estate lawyer thinks it’s great. Well there ya go then.
July 26, 3:58 pm
Kathryn Gilchrist from Sunset Park says:
No companies are standing in line to bring manufacturing jobs to Sunset Park because there are high costs in real estate and salaries in Brooklyn. Those jobs have gone overseas. The problem is matching the skills of the community to the new economy and current high paying jobs, some of which will exist at Amazon. The average salary in tech is $92k. No one is employed in an empty building.
July 26, 5:28 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
As long as not a cent,in tax-breaks,are granted to Amazon(other than local tax-preferences);awarded to any other large corporation-in addition to no(tax-payer)to subsidizes,to the "unions",Amazon should be fully welcomed;to set up shop in Sunset Park,Brooklyn. Or,anywhere else,in NYC. It is,as simple,as that.
July 26, 6:14 pm
Sparkle from Bay Ridge says:
I will stand in solidarity with UPROSE to oppose this. Amazon brings jobs and money into the neighborhood. Creating jobs and bringing money into Sunset Park could upset the delicate balance of poverty and dysfunction that UPROSE has fought so long to preserve. I will scream invective and Maoist slogans at anyone who supports this. I will scream until the ears of those around me run red with blood from their ears and they flee from me in terror. That is what I will do.
July 26, 9:15 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
The old buildings in Industry City are just too old for Amazon's logistic configuration.
July 27, 10:46 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Time to allow Walmart into the city too. I sincerely doubt their payment and benefits policies are very different than those of discounters Target or KMart, which we have, or Bradlees or Caldor, which we used to have.
July 27, 11:08 am
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
If Jeff Beezos really finds this site to be prestigious, then he should pay the full price for it with no tax breaks whatsoever.
July 27, 1:53 pm
ProspectHeightsResident from Prospect Heights says:
Keep that racist, divisive dirtbag AOC FAR AWAY from this deal. And, responding to another user, yes Walmart should be in the City. They are no different from Target and other discount retailers in terms of how they treat their employees. And thank God that they provide employment to so many. Opposition to Walmart in NYC (note, Walmart chooses not to open in NYC due to many reasons, to include pressure from NYC politicians, but they are certainly not being kept out of the city) is purely psychological, not rational.
July 28, 6:41 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Yes, I know it's political pressure, not a law. Walmart is headquartered in Arkansas and the good liberals of NYC don't want what they see as a conservative-run company here.
July 28, 11:29 am
Big Rob from Park Slope says:
Amazon, Walmart are union Buster's, none of them should be allowed to benefit off of tax benefits while stepping on the little guy while reaping in millions. The unions should get involved at these places. Union busting is illegal and they do it anyway. If the workers wish to unionize it's because of mistreatment and work abuse. They know what's going on inside.
July 28, 3:33 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Perhaps the company can capitalize on the use of the waterfront in that area. And Perhaps they will give new life to the rail infrastructure in the area.
July 28, 4:53 pm
Florence from Sunset Park says:
Amazon should be allowed to operate in Sunset Park , but no tax incentives. Amazon should pay us for the privilege of being part of the Sunset Park Community . A preset amount of scholarships for our youth to attend Trade schools & or colleges . Guaranteed employment & internships for the youth of Sunset Park. The Seniors of Sunset Park deserve beautiful independent living facilities for individuals ages 60 and over,still employed, but not making over $40,000 a year.
July 29, 2:20 pm
Alex from Sunset Park says:
I've heard Uprose, Menchaca and others say "Industry City needs to bring high paying jobs to Sunset Park." Then they say "Sunset Park residents don't have the education for highly skilled jobs, we need more blue collar jobs." WHICH IS IT??? Just be honest and say you don't want any new jobs and want the neighborhood to remain exactly as it is with no prospects to find good paying jobs whatsoever because your twisted logic thinks that is actually a bad thing for the neighborhood. This is where the term poverty pimps comes from.
July 30, 8:36 am
Tyler from pps says:
No tax incentives, regular commercial real estate transaction? Sounds fine to me. (Folks really should can the "tech company" babbling when the story has nothing to do with the "tech" part of the company. This is a distribution center... shelves of stuff, machines and people putting stuff in boxes, trucks driving it there and away.)
July 31, 11:40 am
anonymous from industry city says:
I dont understand what our council men menchaca wants for this neighed?? First, strong opposition against upzone to allow NYU dorms and hotels!!that would equal loads of jobs for the community..thats a big NO! Now a world leading company is looking to lease a million square feet of commercial space. equaling more jobs. i guess he likes all the homeless shelters popping up every month i guess he thinks thats wonderful for this community, because thats all im seeing.. My opinion is that like most politicians menchaca is full BS and has his own interests at heart! i cant wait to see menchaca go.
Aug. 1, 5:53 pm

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