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Lights, Camera, Action: A Bright Future for Sunset Park

by Elana Kapul

The current development project in Bush Terminal positions Sunset Park as a hub of creativity for all, while committing to providing more opportunities for its diverse population. Simultaneously, the controversial rezoning and expansion plans for Industry City, which garnered an 11-1 vote, showed overwhelming support from the City Planning Commission and is now in the final stages of approval, promising to bring thousands of jobs, while increasing economic activity to the immediate area. With these recent developments, Sunset Park stands out as a visionary place, and is brimming with opportunity for a very bright future.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment announced that Steiner Studios, a soundstage studio company in Brooklyn, will be joining the Made In New York Campus as part of the new development in the Bush Terminal area of Sunset Park.

This exciting project promises to revitalize the community. According to a press release by NYCEDC, this new film and television production hub will span 500,000 square feet, and “The project…will include eight new soundstages, gut-renovations of two historic buildings, and a new parking facility. Steiner will complete the adjacent Bush Terminal Piers Park, build a new playground designed with community input, and contribute $25,000 annually to recreational programming in the park.”

The project hopes to stimulate the area with economic expansion and promote diverse opportunities, to develop a valuable and communitydriven venture within Sunset Park. In addition, the campus is also going to serve as a hub for apparel-manufacturing companies, that have moved or been priced out of Manhattan’s Garment District, allowing for “the conversion of a 200,000-squarefoot building to…workspaces ranging from 2,000 to 40,000 square feet in size,” according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. With construction currently underway, this exciting project promises to bring significant benefits in terms of community enhancement, such as the creation of new jobs and opportunities that will be available for all New Yorkers. The NYCEDC press release states that due to this development project, “Steiner Studios expects to support 2,200 jobs upon project completion…this investment is also expected to create at least 1,800 temporary construction jobs and comes with a goal of 25% participation rate by Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises.” New York City is well-known as a distinguished center for creative and artistic expression, with Brooklyn, and now Sunset Park, contributing immensely to this famed reputation.

Industry City has also been a hot topic for the Sunset Park community. About seven years ago, the development of Industry City allowed for tired industrial buildings in Sunset Park to be converted into productive and community-beneficial space. Recently, Industry City owners have been pushing to implement plans to expand. The plans are in their final stages of approval, and according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, would allow for a “$1 billion redevelopment that would add roughly 1.3 million square feet of space to the complex by 2027.” The community presented conditions for Industry City to comply with, which the developers have accepted, leading to discussions as well as advocation for the plans’ approval witnessed by many residents and organizations who sent in letters of support. Much of the people’s support is based on the growth that Industry City has already shown since its outset, and its dedication to considering the thoughts of the community, as well as continuing the progress it has already started in the area. A letter from Andrew Kimball — Industry City CEO —explains, their “commitment to creating 20,000 jobs is supported by the hard evidence of its track record over the last seven years in which small businesses at the campus grew from 150 to 550 and jobs from 1,900 to 8,000, while IC’s Innovation Lab has served more than 5,000 individuals with job placement, training and small business services.” As Andrew Kimball further describes, the goal for Industry City and its rezoning/expansion plans are “to fully reactivate the long-dormant, non-productive buildings of Industry City into a job-intensive hub for manufacturers, innovators and entrepreneurs, while also maximizing economic opportunity for area residents and local businesses.”

Sunset Park is a vibrant, culturally diverse neighborhood with several plans for enhancement and revitalization. With the project for Bush Terminal underway, and Industry City’s expansion in the final stages of approval, there is great promise for this area to see more economic activity and growth, as well as a multitude of jobs and community opportunities for a diverse population. The developments in Sunset Park display a bright future for this unique neighborhood.