In one of the first steps towards making Sunset Park a future fashion and media hub for the city, the Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has released a Request For Expressions of Interest (RFEI) today, to develop the 7,500-square-foot Food Building at Bush Terminal.
That building, which is part of the overall Made in NY Campus at Bush Terminal, is currently sitting vacant, and the city wants to bring it to life with restaurants, cafes, and food manufacturing spaces.
The city has taken a relatively broad approach to the development of the Food Building, and has offered up a list of potential uses. They are as follows:
- A restaurant or cafe with a manufacturing facility.
- A culinary school or any other type of culinary education facility with a food retail component.
- A food truck commissary with a food retail component
- A commercial catering business, also with a food retail component
Since this will serve as a major food destination for those working at the Made in NY Campus, visitors to the Bush Terminal Piers Park, and residents of Sunset Park, the restaurant or cafe component is essential to the development of the Food Building.
The best applications will be ones that offer affordable food and drink options, include a food manufacturing facility, and designs that place a strong emphasis on the interior and exterior seating areas, and enliven the pedestrian experience, among other features, a representative for NYCEDC told Curbed.
“The Made in NY Campus will be the city’s newest hub for creative manufacturing and production and will further our efforts to create 100,000 good jobs over the next ten years,” James Patchett, the president of NYCEDC, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be moving forward and inviting proposals for new food options, which will add to the vibrancy of the campus and make it an even bigger asset to the Sunset Park community.”
The $136 million set aside to develop this campus is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s executive budget for fiscal year 2018, that was released yesterday. So far, plans to create this media and fashion hub in Sunset Park have elicited a mixed response.
Earlier this week at a meeting organized by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, many workers in NYC’s current garment district in Midtown Manhattan expressed frustration about their proposed move to Sunset Park. While the mayor’s plan has the backing of the Garment District Alliance and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, many people who actually still work there aren’t convinced.
Elected officials representing the neighborhood have also expressed their hesitation over the plan, as have current Bush Terminal tenants, who are worried they will be displaced by work on the Made in NY Campus.
Currently the campus is home to 500 workers, and city is hoping to increase this number to 1,500 by 2020. Plans call for major renovations to two existing buildings that would create 200,000 square feet of garment manufacturing space, a new 100,000-square-foot facility for film and television production, and several streetscape improvements.
The city will conduct the first tour of the food hall building on June 5 this year, and the deadline to respond to the RFEI is July 25, 2017.