Press Releases

For Immediate Release
November 19, 2018

Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471                                              

Fostering Jobs: City Planning Releases North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan

In-depth study outlines key strategies to modernize land use policies, to serve today’s businesses and support a diverse and equitable economy

NEW YORK - Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Marisa Lago today released the North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan setting forth land use goals and tools for businesses to grow and expand in place – thus creating more and better jobs for New Yorkers.

The most comprehensive land use study of any industrial area in New York City in decades, the Plan is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 10-point Industrial Action Plan to strengthen our core industrial zones and build strong communities.

“With nearly 20,000 jobs and a wide diversity of businesses, the North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) is one of New York City’s most important job-producing centers. As this Administration works to foster more good-paying jobs in a broad range of business sectors, the North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan zeroes in on key goals and tools to modernize outdated industrial zoning. This will allow businesses – from construction and distribution, to custom manufacturing and food production, to creative tech and media – to build more jobs in this IBZ, for the benefit of all New Yorkers and especially for local residents,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago.

“The Department of Small Business Services is committed to supporting the city’s industrial sector by providing valuable business services and by connecting employers to local talent through our Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Career Centers,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). “The North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan released today is an important next step in unlocking the city’s economic potential to build a more vibrant local economy for all New Yorkers.”

“Supporting job growth within the industrial and commercial sectors is critical to diversifying New York City’s economy and making it more resilient,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “The North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan is an important step towards critical land use improvements that will create jobs and ensure New York City continues to grow its 21st century economy.”

“For decades, industrial jobs have served as critical pathways to the middle class among historically disenfranchised communities in my district and across the City,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “The North Brooklyn Industrial and Innovation Study proves what we in North Brooklyn have known all along – our manufacturing areas are hubs of economic activity that provide quality jobs and opportunities for local entrepreneurship. However, this report notes industrial businesses are facing increased competition for space from non-industrial uses, such as offices, nightlife, and retail. The recommendations outlined in this report to protect core industrial areas in the North Brooklyn IBZ will go a long way towards ensuring this area continues to serve as an economic generator for generations to come. I want to thank Evergreen for being a staunch advocate for these protections within my district and Deputy Mayor Glen for her involvement and dedication to these issues. I look forward to collaborating with the Department of City Planning and the de Blasio administration on refining and implementing these recommendations in the coming months.”

“Preserving and strengthening our Industrial Business and Manufacturing Zones in Brooklyn is crucial to the economic diversity of our City. The jobs in those sectors have always been, and will continue to be, a crucial avenue towards economic stability for many New Yorkers,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “The North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Study is an important step in keeping those jobs in New York City. We welcome the efforts by this Administration to apply new and innovative solutions to allow our current industrial businesses to stay in place and for new businesses to have a chance to open and grow. I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration and City Planning to achieve those goals.”

The Plan focuses on zoning and other land use strategies including incentivizing the creation of new space for jobs and economic activity in the North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone, the third largest IBZ in New York City. Due to its strategic location, the IBZ has long been one of New York City’s most vibrant industrial hubs. Today, the IBZ is home to almost 20,000 jobs and is seeing job growth for the first time in decades. Between 2010 and 2016, the study area gained 2,270 jobs, more than half of them in office, retail, the arts and entertainment. That is a reversal from the period between 2000 and 2010 when the area lost 1,570 jobs.

The Plan offers strategies and solutions to achieve the City’s goals of retaining  essential industrial businesses, those that keep our city running, and incentivizing mixed-use workspace, including office and manufacturing space, for emerging creative and innovative industries that are bringing  jobs closer to workers across New York City.

The Plan focuses on the key goals of New York Works plan, including combatting economic inequality, growing jobs and adapting the economy to technological changes.

The Plan was released by DCP in conjunction with Can Industrial Mixed-Use Buildings Work In NYC?, a report that studies the feasibility of incorporating industrial space into new commercial or residential development. The report finds that while these types of mixed-use buildings may face design and financial challenges, opportunities exist for their creation under favorable circumstances. The report informed the North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan’s recommendation that industrial space be incentivized in one of the North Brooklyn IBZ subareas.

The Plan details a strategy to update existing zoning to facilitate creation and expansion of industrial and commercial space, without allowing for new residential uses. Specifically, it proposes to:

  • Retain two-thirds of the Study Area as a Core Industrial Area that can support and grow heavy industrial businesses:
    • Establish appropriate limitations on targeted non-industrial uses, such as on large-scale entertainment.
    • Adjust parking and loading requirements to facilitate business growth and reflect the needs of modern industrial businesses.
    • Adjust industrial floor area to allow for multiple floors of industrial space.
  • Increase job density in a Growth District by growing an ecosystem of creative and tech-driven jobs in office-based and industrial sectors in areas closest to transit:
    • Increase permitted density for job-generating commercial and industrial uses.
    • Adjust bulk regulations to encourage loft-style buildings that meet the needs of today’s businesses.
    • Lower parking requirements near transit and lower loading requirements.
  • Encourage a continued mix of industrial and commercial uses in a Transition Area that serves as a buffer between the Core Industrial Area and other areas:
    • Modestly increase permitted density for job-generating commercial and industrial uses, allowing greater floor area for industrial uses to incentivize the provision of industrial space.
    • Adjust bulk regulations to encourage loft-style buildings that meet the needs of today’s businesses.
    • Lower parking requirements near transit and lower loading requirements.

The Plan identifies approaches to improving transportation and infrastructure conditions to support business growth, such as pilots for innovative industrial transportation design tools. It also identifies strategies to improve the quality of life of workers within the area, such as pedestrian safety and public realm improvements, and to connect them to good job opportunities through robust workforce development programs.

This Plan was informed by multiple meetings and engagement with a wide range of local stakeholders, including more than 50 local businesses, Community Board 1, Community Board 4, local community organizations, neighborhood residents, and industrial business advocacy groups.

“Evergreen is gratified that the North Brooklyn Industry & Innovation Plan absorbed many of the recommendations of our 2017 North Brooklyn Brownfield Opportunity Area Study such as increasing industrial density throughout the study area, limiting non-industrial uses in the core industrial area and reducing parking requirements for new construction.  We are confident that these measures will allow for industrial and commercial business growth and create more space for growing manufacturers in our community.  We look forward to continuing to work with City Hall, the Department of City Planning, the NYC City Council and our local business and residential community on implementation.  It is our priority to ensure that none of these recommendations adversely affect our existing manufacturers—we look forward to helping craft a plan that ensures that any recommended changes in land use are thoughtfully and rationally applied to achieve our shared goal of increasing high quality working class job opportunities for NYC residents.” said Leah Archibald, Executive Director, Evergreen.

“The North Brooklyn Industry & Innovation Plan is a crucial roadmap for industrial land use policy in New York City. By formally recommending zoning changes long sought by industrial advocates, such as the creation of a robust core industrial area, the Administration is demonstrating its long-term commitment to good paying jobs and economic opportunity in this sector”, said Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen, Senior Economic Development Organizer at the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD). “We look forward to working with the Administration, City Council, and community stakeholders to implement these changes in a way that prevents displacement, supports the growth of good paying jobs, and creates economic opportunity for both the Industrial Business Zone and surrounding neighborhoods.”

“As manufacturing evolves in Brooklyn, we must pave the way for industrial businesses to grow and prosper. We appreciate the Department of City Planning’s thoughtful analysis of North Brooklyn’s Industrial landscape and look forward to working with them to strengthen businesses by adapting zoning uses that reflect modern manufacturing practices,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Hector Batista.

“The proposal to strengthen the core North Brooklyn industrial area by limiting non-industrial uses is something we have been advocating for years and is a major step forward in preserving much needed space for jobs and the operations essential to the city’s functionality.  We are eager to work with the Department of City Planning, the City Council and other stakeholders to hammer out the details on this important effort to support the long-term growth of the city’s industrial and commercial sectors,” said Adam Friedman, Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development.

"The industrial sector is a critical part of the economy of New York and for the region as a whole. This plan will put in place conditions that ensure the sector can grow and thrive in North Brooklyn for years to come," said Moses Gates, Vice President for Neighborhood Planning, Regional Plan Association.

The Plan also draws from the New York City Council’s Engines of Opportunity report, published in 2014, which recommended ways to update industrial zoning to support the industrial sector while continuing to diversify the city’s economy.

The North Brooklyn Industry and Innovation Plan serves as a guide for industrial and commercial development in the North Brooklyn IBZ and will inform future planning for other active and growing job centers outside of New York City’s central business districts.

Next steps:
Based on the Plan’s findings, DCP will work with stakeholders to identify and introduce zoning changes that strengthen the North Brooklyn IBZ – and which can also be adapted to modernize important industrial and commercial areas across New York City.