JAM News
Friday, October 9, 2020

Councilman who helped kill Industry City development explores mayoral bid

NEW YORK POST - By Julia Marsh

The Brooklyn Democratic councilman who helped kill a Sunset Park development project that promised 15,000 jobs is exploring a mayoral run, The Post has learned.

Councilman Carlos Menchaca filed for a mayoral campaign committee with the New York City Campaign Finance Board Friday morning, according to a spokesman for the agency.

Menchaca, who is term-limited in the City Council, did not return a message seeking comment.

He opposed the plan by Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball to add three new buildings full of film studios, offices, retail and classrooms to the 5.3 million square foot waterfront parcel that’s currently half vacant or used for warehouse space.

The councilman argued that it would fuel gentrification. The vote of local lawmakers is crucial in securing redevelopment rights.

James Whelan, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, blamed the left-leaning politicians like Menchaca for fighting against what could have been a lucrative deal for the city where 600,000 people remain jobless because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Menchaca enters a crowded mayoral field and would struggle to find a base, sources told The Post.

“I’m sure he thinks that the defeat of industry City is a feather in his cap to a certain constituency,” one local pol told The Post.

“But even the groups in his district, no one even credits him with that defeat,” the source said.

Reps. Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke, Nydia Velazquez and Jerrold Nadler penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council last month, asking them to thwart the rezoning project, saying it would “supercharge the displacement and gentrification that is undermining Sunset Park’s affordability and blue-collar job base.”

Sunset Park resident Jorge Muñiz-Reyes noted that Menchaca first worked with the Industry City developers before opposing their plan — and pivoted only after relentless pressure from local advocates who feared gentrification.

“Menchaca is trying to make himself into a progressive hero, it’s a little bit superficial because in reality its community activists that forced him to change his perspective on it,” Muñiz-Reyes told The Post.

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