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Industry City exec will bend to Menchaca’s rezoning demands

Delayed: Industry City execs agreed to rework their rezoning application for the 35-acre complex and delay its submission to the city according to Councilman Menchaca's demands.
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Executives at Industry City will bow to a list of demands set forth by Councilman Carlos Menchaca to secure a key vote from the lawmaker ahead of a controversial rezoning scheme, bringing a revised version of the maker space’s expansion plan closer to fruition.

“We met with Council Member Menchaca and his Working Group this morning, and once again agreed to delay certification into the ULURP process,” said Lisa Serbaniewicz, a spokeswoman for Industry City. “Industry City has agreed to every request made by the council member.”

Shot callers at the sprawling 35-acres industrial campus are looking to rewrite local zoning regulations to pave the way for a 12-year, $1 billion redevelopment plan, which requires a nearly yearlong public review, during which it is common for developers to fund community benefits in exchange for the regulatory windfall.

However, instead of bargaining with Industry City during the review process, Menchaca — whose support is essential to the rezoning’s success — threatened to kill the effort if the manufacturing complex didn’t rewrite their application to his liking before submitting it to the city.

And Industry city agreed to the councilman’s demands — which included eliminating hotels from the application, reducing the amount of requested retail space, and pitching in funds for a public high school, among other things — in a letter Thursday, when Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kimball outlined his plan to submit the application on Sept. 23.

But the councilman’s dictates weren’t focused solely on Industry City — he also wants Mayor de Blasio to sign a written contract promising city funds for the community, in addition to forming a community watchdog group to oversee the agreement — and Menchaca fired off a response warning Kimball to hold off, or else.

“The establishment of a group who would sign one end of a community benefits agreement has yet to be established, let alone a facilitator or legal counsel identified. Any attempt to rush through a rezoning process without the community being fully prepared to hold Industry City accountable is something I will never support,” he said.

Kimball issued a reply Friday morning to say Industry City would wait to submit the application.

The rezoning proposal has become a hot-button issue amongst community members, with supporters arguing that the rezoning will bring needed jobs to the area, while critics claim the renovations will hike up rents and displace residents. During Monday’s community meeting, the debate came to a head as community activists hijacked the event, shouting “No rezoning! No conditions!” which prompted about half the crowd to exit the auditorium.

Once Menchaca announced his conditional support of the rezoning later that night, community activists blasted him, claiming he is “afraid” to stand up for the community.

“What we need is community control over the decisions in our neighborho­od,” wrote the leaders of the community organization, Protect Sunset Park, in a statement. “We can’t plan for our future in a ‘deal’ that centers corporate welfare. We need a courageous Council Member who isn’t afraid to stand up to corporate bullies and who puts the community’s welfare first.”

Reach reporter Rose Adams at radams@schnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–8306. Follow her on Twitter @rose_n_adams
Updated 3:16 pm, September 20, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Omar from Sunset Park says:
I was fine with the original proposal, but if this is what it takes to make this happen for our community, then fine! Industry City is a good thing for Sunset Park and I hope they succeed and grow so that our residents and workers in Sunset can do the same! Congratulations to our Councilman, Industry City and my fellow Sunset Parkers!
Sept. 20, 4:35 pm
Eddie from SUNSET PARK says:
how is this project even controversial? vote yes already! industry city has been good for us and can be even better. do people in this neighborhood not need jobs??? i thought we had high unemployment rates???
Sept. 21, 8:21 am
Rick from Sunset Park says:
This thing was in the bag a long time ago. Carlos just pretended the residents mattered.
Sept. 21, 3:38 pm
Pd from Sn P says:
"Menchaca will bend to Industry City exec’s rezoning demands" fixed it
Sept. 22, 6:44 am
Plants says:
These "positive" comments were obviously planted by IC. Nobody is for this rezoning nor this clowns gentrification of Sunset Park. It's an outrage and the community is clearly vocal about it. Yuppies go home and take little Kimballs with you. This guy's a disgrace.
Sept. 24, 1:21 am
Local from Here says:
Plants sounds triggered. Poor thing.
Sept. 25, 9:32 am

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