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Projects & Proposals > Brooklyn > Greenpoint-Williamsburg Printer Friendly Version
Greenpoint-Williamsburg - Approved!
Planning Framework - Decline in Industrial Activity
Overview | Planning Framework | Upland Areas | Waterfront Access
Waterfront Development
| EIS | Timeline

Planning Framework:
Existing Zoning
• Decline in Industrial Activity
Residential Growth
Land Use Framework

Since reaching nearly 1.1 million jobs in 1947, manufacturing employment in New York City has fallen by nearly 80 percent. This long-term trend has had profound effects on areas that were once concentrations of heavy industry, such as Greenpoint-Williamsburg.

          link to larger study area graphic
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Based on 2002 New York State Department of Labor data, backed up by field surveys, The Department of City Planning compared recent industrial employment trends within five industrially zoned areas in Brooklyn Community District 1: Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and the Bushwick Inlet area, all within the study area; and Eastern Greenpoint and the East Williamsburg In-Place Industrial Park (EWIPIP), outside the study area.

As shown in the figures below, both the Williamsburg and Greenpoint areas lost approximately 40 percent of their industrial jobs between 1991 and 2002, exhibiting a shift over time from the once-dominant heavy (manufacturing) uses to lighter industrial activity including wholesaling, distribution, and construction. Manufacturing employment alone declined by 72 percent in Williamsburg, and 60 percent in Greenpoint between 1991 and 2002. These data, confirmed by the Department’s land use surveys, indicate that many large manufacturing employers -- particularly in the apparel sector, which has been strongly affected by global trade and economic shifts -- are no longer present in the area. While some smaller manufacturing firms remain, industrial activity in Williamsburg and Greenpoint has shifted toward non-manufacturing uses such as the wholesaling and distribution of food and beverages, furniture, and apparel, as well as construction-related uses.

Bushwick Inlet is the only area within the rezoning study area where industrial employment increased between 1991 and 2002. Upland blocks exhibited stability and a significant number of industrial jobs, with moderate growth in construction and wholesaling jobs. However, waterfront blocks within this area remain largely vacant or underutilized. The Bayside Fuel depot on Bushwick Inlet has indicated its intent to discontinue operations at this site, and in late 2002, Consolidated Freight, a large freight forwarding company with facilities on the waterfront in this area, declared bankruptcy and ceased operations.

In other portions of CD 1 not within the study area, private-sector industrial employment remained stable between 1991 and 2002. In the EWIPIP, manufacturing employment accounted for more than half of over 8,200 industrial jobs in 2002. Industrial employment in the eastern portion of Greenpoint remained stable between 1991 and 2000, with an increase in construction-related industry. The Eastern Greenpoint area also contains the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, a vital city facility which is currently being upgraded. No zoning changes are proposed for the EWIPIP or Eastern Greenpoint.

graph of CD 1 Industrial Jobs by Area 1991-2002
graph of Industrial Employment in the Williamsburg Study Area, 1991-2002 graph of Industrial Employment in the Greenpoint Study Area, 1991-2002

Next >> Planning Framework - Residential Growth

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