The rezoning of East New York won City Council approval in April, paving the way for the development of some 6,500 new apartments of which half will be affordable. Seen by some as a boon to the neighborhood and an advancement of Mayor de Blasio’s agenda to bring 200,000 new and preserved units of affordable housing to NYC by 2024, the rezoning has also been lambasted by affordable housing groups who believe that the units allowed to rise through the rezoning will still be out of reach for the community they seek to serve.
But it appears that City Hall is eyeing the east Brooklyn neighborhood for yet another initiative that will in theory promote the area’s economy. The Wall Street Journal reports that the de Blasio administration is gearing up to spend $17 million on improvements to the neighborhood’s infrastructure, and to "promote existing grants and low-interest development loans for the 105-acre stretch, one the smallest and oldest industrial business zones in the five boroughs."
Councilman Rafael Espinal, whose district covers Cypress Hills, Bushwick, City Line, Oceanhill-Brownsville, and East New York, told the Journal that "[n]o housing is affordable if you don’t have a good paying job … You have to give residents tools they need to pay their rent." Espinal has formerly been targeted by left-leaning groups who criticize the councilman for his involvement in the rezoning.
City Hall’s plan, in addition to including infrastructure upgrades and grants for loans, will include the redevelopment of underused city-owned properties, the increased availability of affordable high-speed broadband internet, and the creation of a free job-training center near the industrial zone. The industrial business zone will be bordered by East New York and Atlantic avenues to the north, Powell Street and Sheffield Avenue to the west and east. A six-block long, one-block wide extension will jut out to the south, bordered by New Lots Avenue.
City Hall hopes the plan will bring in 250 new businesses, generate 3,900 new jobs, and and add 2.7 million square feet of industrial space to the area by 2031. The manufacturing area is being positioned as a cheaper alternative to other such areas throughout the city, and like the rezoning itself is pushed forward by the area’s wealth of transportation.