Sunset parking: Industry City redevelopment hinges on public land for car lot

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A plan to invest nearly $1 billion of private money in Sunset Park’s Industry City could bring hundreds of new parking spots to an area where car space is at a premium, but the proposal relies on the city playing ball.

The leadership of the industrial park unveiled a massive redevelopment plan on March 9 that envisions adding a 400-room hotel, nearly 16 football fields worth of retail space, and more than four times that much space dedicated to technology startups and high-tech manufacturing. But the plan hinges on the city-owned South Brooklyn Marine Terminal hosting a new parking lot serving people who work and shop at Industry City, and possibly the public as well.

The area’s councilman blocked a city plan to redevelop the terminal in December, but Industry City’s president, who is promising the redevelopment will create 20,000 jobs, said he needs local pols and officials to come together on parking and other infrastructure improvements to make the proposed 12-year investment program feasible.

“What we’ve been clear about is one thing — in order to succeed here, we’re going to need additional parking,” Andrew Kimball said.

The 16-building campus currently has just 450 spots. For comparison, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is four-fifths of Industry City’s size, has more than 3,500 parking spots, said Kimball, who headed the Navy Yard’s redevelopment from 2005 to 2013.

Kimball wants the city to build a five-acre parking lot — roughly the size of four football fields — in a corner of the 88-acre South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.

A single acre can accommodate between 100 and 150 parking spaces depending on the layout, according to city bean counters, so the new lot could provide as many as 750 spots for the parking-starved area. And the lot could even be open to the community at large, Kimball said.

“This parking is not about Industry City. This is an under-parked area,” he said. “There’s no parking to get to the local park. There’s no parking if you create thousands of jobs at South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. We are open to a very broad dialogue with the community about how to use that parking best, since it is on public land.”

The Economic Development Corporation floated a plan last year to use the terminal for container shipping, but pulled the plug in January after Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park) demanded more community oversight. The freshman legislator has resumed talks with the city about the terminal’s future — this time with community groups in tow — and said parking is a big part of the discussion.

“Really what we need is a Sunset Park industrial parking plan. But immediately, I think we need to look at granting that kind of support for Industry City today with the commitment to plan for what’s coming,” said Menchaca.

That parking plan should assume South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is working “at full throttle,” he said.

But a parking lot isn’t the only thing Kimball is asking for. The city will need to rezone portions of the complex for retail and hotel uses, and spend about $115 million to prepare area streets for an influx of workers and shoppers, Kimball said.

Industry City is asking for the city to improve roads, public transportation, bike lanes, and open space — introducing water taxi service, rejiggering a five-block stretch of the planned waterfront greenway, and extending the B35 bus route one block, so it goes to the waterfront.

The rest of the $1 billion would come from Industry City’s consortium ownership — including Rubin Schron’s Cammeby’s International, which is planning to erect a 40-story residential tower in Brighton Beach — and other private investors.

Still, the redevelopment plan would take 30 years without a “modest investment” from the city, Kimball said.

“With a rezoning, with the parking and with the public infrastructure, we can drive this investment over the next 12 years,” he said.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Old School from Bay Ridge says:
No, no, no, no. Anyone that wants to give public space to create more car traffic in this area needs to be voted out of office. What was the point of traffic calming on 4th Ave if we are just going to encourage more cars to descend on Sunset Park?
March 10, 2015, 4:10 pm
ty from pps says:
take your jobs and your money and move them to the sunbelt!
March 10, 2015, 4:28 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Turn the parking lot into housing. Then people can walk to work.
March 10, 2015, 4:42 pm
Rob from Greenpoint says:
If parking is at a "premium", why is it "free"? Charge for it. And then you'll need less space for car parking, and more space for, you know, a city. Which is what we are.
March 10, 2015, 4:44 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
there's plenty of parking spaces under the Gowanus expressway on 3 AV.
March 10, 2015, 5:06 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Parking lot -NOOO!!!'
Affordable housing and a park works with me
March 10, 2015, 9:17 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
Some of these comments are idiotic. The parking under the Gowanus on 3rd Ave is already packed. Why do so many oppose rational economic development schemes?
March 11, 2015, 8:09 am
freddy from slope says:
Rational is not a one sided "give us a rezoning and city property" or my private project is not doable presentation.

Look at the renderings. they are taking away half the parking they have.

It must be de rigueur to have companies who invested $100,000,000 in a private project dictate public policy for generations without substantive review.

Why can't they just spiff up the subways and buses?

This is just a subsidized my big box retail play.
March 11, 2015, 8:49 am
die yupsters from Brooklyn says:
This is just another plan to raise the job skill requirement level above native blue collar resident.

One million or one billion, if this project isn't for city infrastructure and blue collar jobs, then spend it elsewhere.

We need money and vision to preserve the working waterfront, create a sustainable infrastructure and keep blue collar jobs blue!

This parking lot isn't for the public, it's for the private, the kind that take without the public in mind.
March 11, 2015, 9:39 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
I agree. Locals could easily commute to that location via bus and subway, no parking needed.
March 11, 2015, 12:34 pm
Guest from NYC says:
This should be a mass transportation oriented development. The city is already over saturated with automobiles.
March 11, 2015, 1:31 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Hallelujah! The commenters today are 100% correct. And Guest put it best -- "This should be a mass transportation oriented development."

We are a dense city with NO MORE ROOM for MORE cars!! Don't create a "mega-development" that just induces more people to drive. The city is very quickly going to add another million or more to the population. Cars are not the answer. They are the opposite of the answer.

You want to keep commercial vehicles (freight and deliveries) moving around the city? The LAST thing you want is to pack more personal cars on the roads.
March 11, 2015, 1:57 pm
ty from pps says:
and no more affordable housing it just brings people who are not *real* people. less available, less density. we have enough jobs anyway, who needs new ones?
March 11, 2015, 2:33 pm
Rob from NY says:
Why build more auto-centric development? Is this Suffolk county? Do we really want to see more cars on local streets teeming with kids, and on the BQE? These developers have their heads stuck in the back of their giant Escalades.

Instead, impose a grid and block system on those parking lots and start building apartments with plenty of ground floor retail. We need more housing, not parking spaces.

Rely on the nearby subway station that has THREE LINES, TWO EXPRESS AND ONE LOCAL. The station has plenty of excess capacity including some long-closed mezzanines that could be reconfigured for retail, etc.. If the developers want more transportation access, let them chip into turning surrounding bus routes to Select Bus Service.

All that parking at the Navy Yard was an artifact of 1970s zoning. Let's not make the same mistake here.
March 11, 2015, 2:38 pm
John from Bay Ridge says:
The tone of most of these comments are pie in the sky objections, none of them fact based. Hist, we don't have the money to build another subway line near this development, and even additional bus service will not do the trick. This project will generate much needed jobs, and infrastructure improvements, to a part of Sunset Park that really needs it. Those of you who want to preserve the neighborhood in amber will only ensure its steady decline. Investors that are willing to put large sums of money into projects like this are always going to negotiate for infrastructure improvements. The parking request that I see is actually very modest.

With "thinking" like that which is exhibited by most of the commentators here, this City would never have built the infrastructure we now have.
March 11, 2015, 2:53 pm
Rob from NY says:
(1) no need for another subway line. The station is a block and a half, with 3 lines, 2 of which are express.

(2) The comparison with the Navy Yard is ridiculous. The Navy Yard created all that parking when the subways were dangerous (just after the 1970s nadir) and the adjacent neighborhoods were not likely to attract workers for those commercial tenants. In 2015, the subway is great, Brooklyn is booming, and nobody wants to see more cars on our streets. Those parking spaces could be thousands of apartments.

(3) Jamestown is based in Atlanta, and its offices are completely car-dependent and nowhere near a Metro stop. I suspect the executives don't really understand how NYC works, and are used to getting limo'd from the airport to a vast field of empty parking spaces.

Industry City shouldn't follow a playbook from 1981, even if one of its executives used to work for the Navy Yard.
March 11, 2015, 3:21 pm
Old School from Bay Ridge says:
A lot of the "infrastructure" designed by car loving zealots like Robert Moses needs to be dismantled, or redesigned for 21st century modes of transportation like bicycles. The Gowanus and BQE are a great place to start.
March 11, 2015, 3:26 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I would rather have the parking spaces stay, because many of the industries there will still need them. I know some say that it shouldn't be auto-centric, but we are talking about businesses that rely heavily on trucks to use them, and even with subway stations available on 4th Avenue, it just can't be taken on that. Believe it or not, parking premiums lowers the amount of cars constantly circling the streets looking for a place to park not to mention fewer cars on the streets. As for affordable housing, those living there are the hard working who will most likely take the jobs that most of you will never take even if all you had to do get them was just show up. Overall, it seems that the idea for this project is only short term rather than long term and a large development will bring in more traffic, not less.
March 11, 2015, 3:28 pm
Guest from NYC says:
Rob put it best, seems John doesn't even realize there is already a subway station in close proximity. So much for facts... Our roads are beyond maxed out, let's not sacrifice anymore valuable land for excess parking.

And Tal is so off the mark it's not even funny. Stick to the burbs. Bub.
March 11, 2015, 4:59 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Ty, if you think Sunset Park needs to be integrated, which you are implying, you are ill informed. It is already very well integrated,a lote more than pps, that's for sure.
March 11, 2015, 5:52 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
*a lot more
March 11, 2015, 6:15 pm
MJ from Bay Ridge says:
B37 bus is so infrequent, once every 30 minutes... Plenty of slot for improvement
March 11, 2015, 6:41 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
" or redesigned for 21st century modes of transportation like bicycles."

I think you meant to say 19th century, comrade.
March 12, 2015, 6:28 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
I know the area better than the people posting here. The subway station is down a long hill, and up on the way back.

But the "no cars at any time" crowd is still missing the point. But just the mention of off street parking sends the idiots in a barking frenzy. A huge development needs parking. It's really that simple. Business people visiting with samples, supplies, customers making pick ups. You name it.

I'm a supporter of traffic calming, Vision Zero, slower speed limits, speed cameras. But that has nothing to do with the need for parking at this development. Ideology has tied many of you into knots, and lead to very illogical thinking.

It's fortunate that this decision will be made by adults that have the big picture interests of the community and the city in mind.

They'll get the parking.
March 12, 2015, 9:44 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Actually, Rufus, cycling is a more popular mode of transportation than it EVER has been in history. Not to mention, growth/adoption of cycling was really a 20th century thing even though the modern bicycle was invented in the 1880s.

But, I understand. You think driving a car is the best mode of trasnportation for an extremely dense city of 8.5 million people (and growing). The ignorance is strong with you!
March 12, 2015, 10 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
John -- Who above is a member of the "no cars at any time" crowd?!? That's just crazy talk. The difference is SMART development that de-emphasizes driving and parking and a BACKWARD-looking development that celebrates personal vehicles.

I own a car. I use it. I also understand I am part of the problem, so I minimize my use.

There is a difference between making sure there is appropriate parking and making sure there is a FIVE-ACRE parking lot desert -- parking, mind you, that will require an even LONGER walk than the one you describe from the subway.
March 12, 2015, 10:05 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
By the way, if parking is so damn important, they can build a nice compact (expensive) parking garage or two. Five-acres of parking only needs a 1/2 acre if you build a 10-level garage!
March 12, 2015, 10:29 am
TOM MURPHY from Sunset Park Lower says:
When the Greater City of New York was created more than a century ago Brooklyn was the 4th largest city in America. It is still the 4th largest city in America.
A century ago Irving T. Bush had already built Bush Terminal which today is the core of Industry City.
Andrew Kimball, the CEO of IC, lives here in Brooklyn, ran the Brooklyn Navy Yard for years and knows the problems of getting workers to the work sites. I think the money-men in Atlanta, one partner on this endeavor, listen to him. He's smart.
In NYC some two-thirds of workers commute to their jobs on our public transit in Manhattan. How about the other third? People here in Sunset Park ride the trains too, but some 10% walk to work, a substantial number. However, those who drive say public transit does not come near their homes or near their place of employment. They really need to drive to make a living.
While the Mayor is focused on getting as much affordable housing for all those working families as possible, if they can't get to their job none of that housing will remain affordable for long for them.
Sunset Park currently has the most overcrowded housing in all of Brooklyn. That's a fact. It's also #5 in the whole city.
The planned increase of 15,000 workers at just this project in Sunset Park must be accommodated with shelter and transportation in the very near future. It won't happen locally without major new construction. So hang on to your home.
If they don't live locally these workers must get to work somehow. So hang on to our few subway lines we got (that are not protected against storm surge or "rain events"). Buses are slow and unreliable. BRT and SBS are full of problems without dedicated lanes. Citibike won't be coming here before 2018. So hang on to your parking spot.
Go down to the waterfront and look at each major work hub. They all have their own ample parking(BAT, LMC, IC and Liberty Vue). Even the soon to be opened Marine Transfer Station at Gowanus Canal has 75 parking spots for their work force that will not be more than 24 at any time. You might say that's wasteful but I would say that's just prudent planning.
March 12, 2015, 2:05 pm
james from bay ridge says:
great, make the industrial area even more ugly with lots of traffic and parking lots. The vast majority of people working in sunset do so but train/bus/walking. The whole section under the Gowanus is terrible to walk near. Just make it friendlier to walk by and improve the bus options. done.
March 12, 2015, 6:02 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
Unfortunately for Guest and all the other anti-car fanatics, it won't be very easy to make this project transit oriented especially when the current infrastructure is hardly past capacity. Adding this will make it even worse. Before you can make it transit oriented, you will have to improve the transit first. As for Old School wanting the BQE and Gowanus to be torn down, that's not going to happen anytime soon, plus doing so will lead to having more commercial vehicles on local streets, which will make the local traffic even worse than it already is. Perhaps the reason why parking premiums are free is because many of those using them are already paying for the property itself, which is already a lot of money. Maybe now you may understand when I go to games of the Knicks, Nets, Yankees, Mets, and Liberty I choose to park on the streets rather than use any of their parking lots or garages, because I feel that the tickets that pay for their games are high enough not to mention what I plan on eating there as well.
March 12, 2015, 6:15 pm
A.S. from Boerum Hill says:
The city should definitely not give away land for suburban-style parking lots in the middle of Brooklyn. What a crazy idea. Especially during a housing affordability crisis.

If the developer is worried about transportation for people who work at Industry City, they should work with the city to improve bus and ferry service, walking routes from the subway and add bike paths and Citibike racks.
March 12, 2015, 8:24 pm
ty from pps says:
time to call Bob Diamond and get a trolley! clang clang!
March 12, 2015, 10:13 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
The location in question is not suitable for housing, no matter how "affordable."
March 12, 2015, 10:46 pm
george from sunset park says:
What type of work are we talking about? Repackaging imported junk from the Orient, or actually manufacturing something like good quality furniture, umbrellas, or jeans? It seems to be trending that "Made In Brooklyn" is fashionable. But how long can this sustain in this economy.

During ever corrupt Koch Administration, millions of funding went into a seldom used freight train yard at the waterfront & 66th Street. I hope this does not happen here at IC.
March 13, 2015, 9:42 pm
Guest from NYC says:

Interesting how you cite capacity issues along local subway lines but fail to mention roads literally stressed to failure.

A mass transportation oriented facility here would benefit everyone in the local area. Excess parking is only going to induce demand to drive, adding to already congested roads. You're a driver asking for more traffic, I find that ironic.
March 16, 2015, 10:59 am
Hank says:
The area needs employment opportunities for blue collar workers, period. What it does not need is a boondoggle of public funds going towards businesses that are primarily oriented towards startups that crotchet belly button lint into change purses. Help working class Brooklynites to survive by creating true industrial and manufacturing jobs, not hipster folly.
March 19, 2015, 8:34 am

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