The project has been controversial from the beginning. But some think it would boost the local economy and create 20,000 jobs for residents.

Shinya Suzuki

The City Council will vote on the Industry City proposal before November 4.

Read the original story in World Journal.

Translated by Rong Xiaoqing from Chinese 

Right after the Department of City Planning’s recent approval of the rezoning plan of the Industry City expansion project in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, close to 50 Asian members of local community organizations sent a letter to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson calling for the City Council to vote for it. They said the project will create 20,000 jobs. 

The project has been controversial from the beginning. Some Sunset Park residents worry it will accelerate gentrification in the neighborhood, and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who represents the district, said he won’t vote for it because the developers did not meet the community’s requests.   

But some Asians, mainly Chinese, think the expansion would boost the local economy and create 20,000 jobs for residents. The letter sent to Johnson recently was signed by some members of Community Board 7, entrepreneurs, realtors, community activists and others from the Asian American population, which comprises 30 of the residents of Sunset Park. It stated that Protect Sunset Park, an opponent organization formed by Asians, and the Hispanic organizations against the project do not represent the view of all residents in Sunset Park, and that Menchaca’s stance doesn’t align with many of his constituents.    

Kenny Guan, a CB7 board member, said that he has been living in Sunset Park for 32 years and knows the community well. “We need to build up locally and in the city and the entire country with jobs especially with the Coronavirus here in Sunset Park,” Guan said.

Guan said Industry City focuses on light and high-tech industries which won’t compete with the Hispanic owned businesses on Fifth Avenue or the Chinese owned businesses on the Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The clienteles have no overlap, he said. So local businesses don’t have to worry that the expansion of Industry City would threat their businesses.

So far, Councilmembers Robert Cornegy from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ritchie Torres from the Bronx and Donovan Richards from Queens all said they’ll vote yes. The City Council will vote on the proposal before November 4. There is another 15 days to amend the application. 

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