The hand of gentrification continues to reach further and further into Brooklyn, and now it seems Sunset Park is the newest Brooklyn neighborhood to face impending consumer-based development. Fulfilling promises made during campaigning, Bill de Blasio’s administration is funneling $100 million into renovating the Brooklyn Army Terminal, a space now housing predominantly warehouses and local manufacturers. Meanwhile, a few blocks north, Sunset Park’s 6 million-square-foot Industry City is being transformed into the next Chelsea Market (supposedly) by private investors leasing spaces to the newest leaders in Brooklyn food and fashion.
As a neighborhood still very much home to not only a large immigrant community, but also many newcomers who’ve fled the high prices of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, these Sunset Park developments have the potential to both improve elements of the area by revitalizing the economy and force out some of Brooklyn’s last affordable housing. The projects seem to be focused on positively transforming the neighborhood rather than wholesale replacing what exists there now; the “new” Sunset Park could act as a hub for working-class families who could then walk or easily commute to stable jobs produced by the influx of new businesses.
But this optimistic plan doesn’t come without some major complications. The neglected streets of Sunset Park are just beginning to be repaved, and many of the outdated sewer lines need replacing. Not all Sunset Park residents seem thrilled by the developments, or the way they’re progressing. Much of the construction prevents access to the waterfront, one of the potential perks of Sunset Park.
And, perhaps ominously, the indicators of hip are already beginning to appear, with Brooklyn’s weekly Mister Sunday parties having relocated from Gowanus to Industry City. With an aesthetic that theNew York Times compares to “a Park Slope block party,” the massive dance parties have already enticed the north Brooklyn “buff dance-enthusiasts and raver moms” to Sunset Park.
Unlike Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Army Terminal is still city-run, rather than partnered with private investors. Many believe the area would benefit from a non-profit management, who would hopefully promote developer Marvin Schein’s goal “to keep the industrial space in Sunset Park intact.”
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