The Port Authority has revived the idea of moving Brooklyn’s only port operations from its historic Red Hook home to Sunset Park — less than a year after signing a new 10-year lease with the operator of the existing port.
Chris Ward, the Authority’s executive director, told the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday morning that his agency needs “to find a way to move the Red Hook Container Port farther south towards 39th Street in Sunset Park,” a site that’s currently used to store cars.
This is a familiar issuance from public officials, but still somewhat surprising, because the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey just inked a new, 10-year lease with American Stevedoring Inc. to operate the port after the dockworkers staved off an attempt by Mayor Bloomberg to oust the port and replace it with luxury housing and shopping, a plan that was quietly abandoned last year.
Ward didn’t lay out a specific plan for Piers 7–10, roughly between Atlantic and Hamilton avenues, but said that maritime industry is not the best match given the piers’ proximity to Governors Island and the future Brooklyn Bridge Park development.
There is also residential development nearby, he added.
But the pier in Sunset Park has an even larger manufacturing buffer around it than in Red Hook and the Columbia Street Waterfront District.
The time and cost involved in such a move of waterfront infrastructure could be staggering, which is why early planning is essential.
“We need to take the time we have to get it to the right place,” Ward said.
American Stevedoring’s fight to stay on the Brooklyn waterfront was hard won, but the company is not bitter about a possible shift in waterfront policy.
“We support the city and the state in their efforts to deliver the best possible transportation plan for both Brooklyn and the state,” said Matt Yates, a company spokesman.