Mayor Bloomberg Announces Programs to Expand the Reactivation of Brooklyn's Working Waterfront
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced a series of programs to expand the ongoing reactivation of Brooklyn’s working waterfront. Through the “Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan” unveiled today, the City will invest more than $165 million – with an additional $105 million in State, Federal and private funds – in the industrial waterfront, activate 3.5 million square feet of industrial space, create 2,000 industrial and construction jobs over the next two years and 11,000 jobs in all, add 22 acres of open space and reduce regional truck traffic by 70,000 trips per year. Mayor Bloomberg also outlined “DiverseCity,” the Administration’s economic diversification strategy to spur entrepreneurship and target industries in which New York City has competitive advantages, including: certain industrial and distribution subsectors, green building and design, bioscience, media, tourism, fashion, financial services and nonprofits. Joining the Mayor at the announcement, which took place at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park, were Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congresswoman Nydia M. Velazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carl Hum, and Sims Metal Management Group Chief Executive Officer Dan Dienst.
“On Brooklyn’s waterfront, the City has a unique opportunity to build upon existing assets – including a talented workforce and industrial and maritime infrastructure – to create permanent industrial jobs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through a series of investments aimed at bringing aging infrastructure to good repair, professionalizing maritime and rail service, and increasing and diversifying job-intensive industrial uses along the waterfront, the Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan lays out a series of short and long-term steps to strengthen the area as a center for industrial growth. Like our efforts to bolster growth industries like media, bioscience and tourism, protecting our existing industrial jobs and taking steps to add new ones will help achieve our goal of diversifying our economy and offering opportunities to all New Yorkers.”
“I applaud the Bloomberg Administration because its new Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan is an excellent framework for the discussion and advancement of New York City’s maritime and rail infrastructure, and most importantly, is a critical acknowledgement of the importance of increasing goods movement efficiency, which will make the City far more sustainable and productive in the future,” said Congressman Nadler. “The efficient movement of goods, while not a topic that captures the imagination of most New Yorkers is an issue of phenomenal and immediate importance to our City and our Region. It means more and better jobs, and a much healthier environment.”
“The Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan sets us on a promising path toward reviving and enhancing Brooklyn’s waterfront,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “I look forward to working with the City to find ways to strengthen local small businesses and foster green jobs and industry.”
“Brooklyn is booming,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz. “And the initiatives and projects outlined today will add to that boom. In Sunset Park, just as the strong commitment to brownfields clean-up and the opening of the waterfront to residents with a new park constitute great leaps forward—we also applaud the announcement that Phoenix, Sims and Axis will become full fledged members of the Brooklyn Waterfront community. These companies are the bellwether of future industrial growth in the area—growth that will create good jobs and utilize environmentally sustainable construction and operational practices while employing water and rail transportation to take trucks off our neighborhood streets. I commend Mayor Bloomberg on his continued faith in and attention to the borough of Brooklyn.”
“We are here today recognizing how valuable the Sunset Park Waterfront is to the economy of the City of New York,” said Council Member Gonzalez. “I will continue to ensure that a comprehensive vision plan addresses community needs and concerns while preserving and creating quality jobs, creating open space, reducing truck traffic, implementing green practices, and improving the business environment for existing and future industrial tenants, all of which are goals I have supported since my days as Chair of Community Board 7. At that time, I signed onto working waterfront principles with Congress members Nadler and Velázquez, which I still adhere to today.”
Supporting manufacturing, industrial and distribution companies is part of “DiverseCity,” the Bloomberg Administration’s comprehensive, long-term strategy to strengthen the local economy. The strategy offers a wide array of opportunities with varied skills and backgrounds, while simultaneously lessening dependence on the performance of any one sector. New York City’s economy is already relatively diverse: more than 3.1 million New Yorkers are employed in more than a dozen industries and sub-sectors, and no one sector accounts for more than 18 percent of total employment. The Bloomberg Administration, as part of its Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan, is working to make New York City’s economy more diverse by promoting entrepreneurship across all industries, making targeted investments and adopting long-term policies that will keep the City competitive. In addition to encouraging the growth of manufacturing jobs on the Brooklyn waterfront and across the five boroughs, the City is focusing on supporting industries where it has particular competitive advantages, including bioscience, fashion, financial services, green, media/technology, non-profit and tourism.
In recent decades, the Sunset Park industrial waterfront – developed more than a century ago –has lost much of its competitive edge as a working industrial area as a result of disinvestment and aging infrastructure. The Sunset Park Waterfront Vision Plan combines strategic investments and targeted policies to reactivate the area’s industrial uses, create jobs and provide public waterfront access within the City’s Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone. The plan includes both short-term projects that will create more than 2,000 permanent and construction jobs over the next two years and a framework for the long-term development of Sunset Park that will pave the way for 11,000 jobs. Through the plan, the City will: modernize industrial facilities at Bush Terminal and the Brooklyn Army Terminal, reactivate the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, upgrade freight rail service and promote other environmentally sustainable practices, and build Bush Terminal Pier Park and improve pedestrian access to the waterfront. In developing the plan, the City worked closely with elected officials, the local Community Board and community organizations, including the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation.
Reactivate the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal: Central to the Vision Plan is the reactivation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal which was last used extensively for maritime purposes in 1985. The City is investing $80 million on infrastructure upgrades at the terminal to pave the way for two new industrial facilities. The Axis Group is investing $7 million to develop auto processing and cargo handling operations, and heavy construction is beginning now. Sims Metal Management is investing $44 million to create a state-of-the-art recycling facility for metals, plastic and glass, with site preparation commencing now and construction set to begin next year. Together the Sims Metal Management and Axis projects will create 360 new, permanent jobs.
Modernize Industrial Facilities at Bush Terminal: Sunset Park is home to existing industrial buildings, but many are aging facilities without the modern infrastructure that today’s industrial businesses need and, as a result, are vacant. Beginning later this month, the City will begin investing an initial $8.6 million to upgrade City-owned buildings and infrastructure at Bush Terminal. Improvements will include critical utility installation, roadway reconstruction, and the modernization of the railroad connection through the campus. Last week, the City issued a Request for Proposals to maritime industrial businesses to redevelop Pier 6, a 5.3-acre finger pier at the Bush Terminal Industrial Campus. Revitalization of the Bush Terminal Campus will build on the success of the Brooklyn Army Terminal to the south. Built in 1918 as a primary point of embarkation for military personnel and supplies, the complex was acquired by the City in 1981. The complex’s two main buildings contain approximately four million square feet. To date, the City has renovated approximately 3.1 million square feet that is now occupied by 72 industrial, back office and high-tech companies employing more than 3,000 workers.
Upgrade Freight Rail Service and Promote Other Environmentally Sustainable Practices: The Vision Plan includes new measures to promote the movement of goods by rail, which is an efficient, economical and sustainable mode of transportation increasingly attractive to industrial businesses. Later this year, the City will begin Brooklyn waterfront rail improvement projects, including the construction of rail freight infrastructure at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. The City will also invest $9 million to make upgrades along 1st Avenue that will allow larger, modern railcars to connect to the terminal. The City is also working to improve the reliability of rail service to local customers. By introducing rail service and promoting the movement of goods by rail and barge, the Vision Plan would result in 70,000 fewer truck trips and 5,000 fewer tons of CO2 emissions citywide every year. In addition, several of the large-roofed industrial buildings at the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Bush Terminal will be fit out with solar energy capabilities that will significantly mitigate emissions and reduce energy costs.
Build Bush Terminal Pier Park and Improve Pedestrian Access to the Waterfront: The $37 million Bush Terminal Piers Park and Remediation project – funded through City, State and Federal sources – will add 22 acres of open space to the Sunset Park waterfront, doubling the amount of open space in the neighborhood. The park will be located on a former brownfield, which is now undergoing a complete remediation. The Vision Plan also sets the stage for key corridors at 35th, 43rd, 51st and 58th Streets to become pedestrian friendly streetscapes to ensure residents safe access to the new waterfront park.
Outside the Sunset Park industrial area, the Department of City Planning has engaged the community to develop a rezoning package to protect the scale and character of the neighborhood and provide opportunities for affordable housing where appropriate. The rezoning proposal is now in the public approval process. The Sunset Park waterfront is part of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone. In 2005, the Bloomberg Administration designated 16 of the city’s most productive industrial areas as IBZs, and the Mayor made a commitment not to rezone these areas for other uses. Through the Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses, the city offers an array of services, including providing assistance with business planning, navigating government, financing, hiring, minority and women-owned business enterprise certification, employee training and accessing incentives.
Mayor Bloomberg also outlined recent developments on the waterfront in Red Hook. EDC recently finalized a 20-year sublease with Phoenix Beverages for a portion of Pier 11 at Atlantic Basin, and the company is now beginning site preparation. Phoenix, a major importer of beers and other beverages, will invest $3.8 million to consolidate its operations from Long Island City and New Jersey to the new Red Hook facility, moving about 500 workers to Red Hook and hiring up to 100 additional workers over the next 18 months. Phoenix is committed to local hiring in Red Hook and has retained Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation to recruit new employees. A local job fair is planned for this fall. Construction will begin in August and the facility will be fully operational in six months. Currently, Phoenix’s container ships arrive at Port Elizabeth, New Jersey and are transported by truck over the George Washington Bridge for local distribution from Long Island City.
On Pier 12, which until five years ago was used only for salt storage, the $56 million Brooklyn Cruise Terminal continues to welcome some of the world’s most prestigious cruise ships to New York City. Cunard’s Queen Mary is only one of the spectacular ships that are proud to call Brooklyn their homeport. During its first three full years of operation, the cruise terminal has accommodated an average of about 50 ships and 241,000 passengers a year. At the Red Hook Container Terminal, EDC is working with American Stevedoring to identify more high volume shippers that would have a competitive advantage receiving goods by water in Brooklyn.
“Phoenix Beverages is a growing company with excellent potential to bring additional jobs to Red Hook,” said Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky. “Finalizing this agreement is another step forward in Mayor Bloomberg’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan. Reinforcing our working waterfront helps to diversify our economy, strengthen the container port, improves the environment by taking trucks off congested local roads, and ultimately reduces the costs of goods for consumers. Relocating Phoenix’s operations and 500 jobs to Red Hook will be an excellent addition to Brooklyn’s port, the Red Hook community and the City of New York.”
“The strength of Brooklyn’s economy is derived from our diversity,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carl Hum. “It is no small wonder that our economic diversity has helped Brooklyn weather the storms of prior recessions. Today’s milestones will only help fortify our borough and insure our future by making sound investments in Sunset Park’s physical assets, providing growth opportunities for the industrial and manufacturing sector, creating much-needed blue-collar jobs and promoting the environmentally-friendly movement of goods. The Chamber has consistently supported our working waterfront and it is reassuring to know that the Bloomberg Administration is attentive to the business community’s needs.”
“The new Sunset Park recycling facility offers excellent water access and was selected in large part for that reason,” said Sims Metal Management Group Chief Executive Officer Dan Dienst. “The facility will allow Sims Metal Management to expand our already extensive barge–based system of transporting recyclables on the water and not on City streets. Additionally, the facility will provide approximately 100 new jobs at all skill levels. From the beginning we have said that hiring from the Sunset Park community will be a top priority, and we look forward to working with the City and local organizations to make sure we do just that. As with all of our 230 locations around the world, these will be good, green collar jobs and our future employees will enjoy a safe, clean and a state of the art operating environment.”
The Bloomberg Administration’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city’s economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth. To learn more about the plan, visit nyc.gov.
Recent announcements to diversify the economy include:
- Eight initiatives to strengthen the media industry in New York City.
- New initiatives to help support Hispanic-owned small businesses.
- The opening of China Construction Bank’s New York City office.
- New international cruise activity, growing New York City’s 13,000-job cruise industry.
- Steps to help New York City’s bioscience companies compete for Federal funding.
- Legislation that will green buildings and create 19,000 construction jobs.
- Green projects at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are creating more than 1,700 permanent jobs.
- Comprehensive initiatives to support the nonprofit sector and its 490,000 jobs.
- New programs to provide training and resources for City’s future entrepreneurs.
- 11 new initiatives to support the financial services sector and promote entrepreneurship.
Other Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan announcements include:
- A record 10,500 job placements through the first half of 2009.
- A plan to convert unoccupied apartments and stalled sites into affordable housing.
- The opening of New Mount Hope Community Center in the Bronx.
- The purchase of the Hunter’s Point South site to create a new, affordable neighborhood.
- A public campaign to help more New Yorkers get free foreclosure prevention services.
- The start of services of the Park Slope 5th Avenue Business Improvement District.
- A stimulus-funded bond program to spur commercial and industrial projects citywide.
- The City will use nearly $32 million to train 10,000 New Yorkers for jobs.
- New space for 20 small businesses in Bushwick, creating more than 80 industrial jobs.
- The citywide “Fashion’s Night Out” event to support retailers in all five boroughs.
- The start to construction of the International Gem Tower, which will house 3,000 jobs.
- City’s Workforce1 Centers in Harlem and Jamaica received awards for innovation.
- Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program to encourage grocery stores.
- City-supported loans unavailable from banks to help small businesses stay in operation.
- Three new Financial Empowerment Centers offering free, one-on-one financial coaching.
- Stimulus funding to help the City provide summer jobs for 51,000 young New Yorkers.
- The opening of New Hope Walton Project, housing for low-income residents in Harlem
- New affordable housing at Gateway Building, a long-vacant structure in the South Bronx.
- The Harlem Business Assistance Fund to help businesses relocate to the 125th Street area.
- The expansion of NYC Business Express to help businesses obtain permits and licenses.
- The “Nine in ’09” campaign to promote economic activity in diverse neighborhoods.
- A Center for Economic Opportunity program put 4,000 low-income New Yorkers in jobs.
- Stimulus-funded community development projects that will strengthen neighborhoods.
- Stimulus-funded Housing Authority projects that will create jobs for 3,255 New Yorkers.
- The start of construction of 103 units of affordable housing in Brownsville.
- The opening of Home Depot in the South Bronx creating 200 new permanent jobs.
- The latest round of training funds to help small businesses train their employees.
- The placement of 50 laid-off New Yorkers into positions at entrepreneurial companies.
- New York City achieved a record 5,000 job placements through the first quarter of 2009.
- Help for a beer distributor to create 55 permanent and 30 construction jobs in the Bronx.
- Comprehensive initiatives to support the nonprofit sector and its 490,000 jobs.
- Federal stimulus transportation projects that will create or preserve 32,000 jobs.
- Steps the City is taking to help small businesses adapt to conditions and avoid layoffs.
- A plan to create and retain 400,000 jobs over the next six years
For more information, project PDFs are available for download in our Press Kit.