Affordable Housing, Jobs Clash in Brooklyn’s Industrial Spaces

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A group of artists living in a converted industrial warehouse in Red Hook, above, are suing the landlord to make the building rent stabilized retroactively, The Wall Street Journal reported. At the same time, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna has been speaking out about the importance of maintaining Brooklyn’s industrial spaces for manufacturing use to keep jobs in the area, while Borough President Eric Adams is saying his No. 1 priority is encouraging the growth of more below-market rate housing, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

Reyna is pushing to have the Pfizer building complex on the Williamsburg Bed Stuy border designated part of an Industrial Business Zone that cannot be converted to residential and with incentives for manufacturing. Though as we noted last week, manufacturing tenants are moving out of industrial buildings in the IBZ in North Williamsburg as they are turned into more lucrative hotels and stores.

“We’ve got to keep Brooklyn affordable, that’s the No. 1 thing,” the Brooklyn Paper quoted Adams as saying.

Is it possible to do both, do you think?

Artists Battle Rent Increases [WSJ]
Deputy Beep wants jobs over housing [Brooklyn Paper]
Photo of 14 Verona Street by Eugene Ilyayev for PropertyShark

3 Comment

  • yes, it is possible, I think. affordable housing and industrial preservation go hand in hand. with the correct mix of policies and incentives the new administration can achieve both of these goals.

    after all, no housing is affordable without a job!

  • thebrooklynbrawler

    I am all for “having both” but in reality, I have no idea how such a thing is possible, and I am skeptical of any politician or persons who claims that they have the answer to solve BOTH problems. Take 14 Verona Street in Red Hook, for example, I used to live in that building. It houses 111 “residential” units. It also was a Luggage factory and a Can Stopper factory back in the day. While both have importance, the sheer space that a manufacturing and industrial company needs vs the 111 people, some of which are now families not only artists, well, I would say personally that the needs of the majority outway the needs of the few. It is much easier for a luggage factory to relocate upstate then 111 families, or worse, they enter the residential market here in the city and absorb an already choking inventory of rentals/sales, thus driving up the prices even more. Red Hook is one of the last (slightly) affordable places to live near the city, and taking away 111 units from that neighborhood and replacing that coveted space with an industrial company that supplies a few low paying jobs does not seem like a logical answer to me.

    • morralkan

      I’m sure, though, that the workers in those “few low paying jobs” would like to actual keep their employment. There needs to be a mix of jobs (as well as housing) in NYC for the city to be sustainable. We really can’t afford to discard jobs because they are not hi-tech or hip.