Photo via Alexandra Ferguson
At its peak in 1950, the city’s garment industry employed 323,669 New Yorkers. By 2000, this number had dropped to 59,049, and in 2015, it was less than half that with just 22,626 residents “making apparel, accessories, and finished textile products,” reports the Times. The struggling trade, long centered in the area bound by 5th/9th Avenues and 35th/41st Streets, has fallen victim not only to national trends of work being shipped overseas, but local issues like rising rents, outdated facilities, and competition from tech and media companies. But thanks to a collaboration between the city and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a “new, modern garment district” is taking hold in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where several industrial conversions offer cheaper rents, better equipped real estate, and a creative, collaborative community
Much more on the shift
We’re told this big and bright pre-war apartment at 1413 9th Avenue is in a 1923 Finnish co-op building. We know that’s not unusual for Sunset Park: In the first half of the 20th century, the neighborhood was home to a large Scandinavian community. But this particular home’s charming interiors are also the picture of Scandi-chic (though we’re pretty sure it’s coincidental). At $560,000, three big bedrooms with plenty of space to spare make the laid-back minimal decor that much easier on the eyes.
Tour this lovely southwest Brooklyn gem
In 2014 the news surfaced that Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) was planning to sell its Sunset Park branch at 5108 4th Avenue to a non-profit community development organization, Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC). The developer would demolish the 43-year-old building and build in its place a larger library with eight stories above that would contain 49 below-market-rate apartments, in part with public money allocated by Borough President Eric L. Adams. The developers say the plan will create housing for Brooklyn’s neediest residents. Brooklyn Paper now reports that developers are preparing to pitch the project to Community Board 7’s land-use committee on November 3 as part of a public review process. The city council has the final say whether it goes through.
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Sunset Park isn’t a neighborhood particularly known for its grand co-op buildings, but this two-bedroom apartment comes from 570 44th Street, a 16-unit co-op built in 1914. The listing calls the building “one of the first Finnish co-ops in Sunset Park.” In case you didn’t know, parts of Sunset Park in the early 20th century were commonly known as “FinnTown,” and the Finnish population built around 25 co-ops here. The building comes with original moldings and stained glass windows in the hallway. And this ground-floor apartment, which has just hit the market for $520,000, boasts some lovely details and quirks of its own.
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Despite its opening being pushed to April 2018, the New York Wheel is marking a major milestone–the arrival of its first physical components. According to a press release, the Staten Island Ferris wheel’s four legs arrive today to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT). When complete, the 60-story, 630-foot wheel will be the world’s tallest, so it makes sense that each leg weighs in at a whopping 500 tons and measures 18 feet wide and 275 feet tall.
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Industry City is a six million-square-foot, 30-acre industrial complex on the Sunset Park waterfront. Its 16 buildings made up the former Bush Terminal, a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution center that opened in 1895. After falling into disrepair over the past few decades, in 2013, a new ownership team led by Belvedere Capital and Jamestown began their $1 billion undertaking to update the complex while cultivating a diverse tenant mix that fuses today’s burgeoning innovation economy with traditional manufacturing and artisanal craft.
Today, there are more than 4,500 people and 400 companies working in Industry City, and 6sqft recently paid a visit to four of them (a handbag designer, lighting designer, candle company, and chocolatier) to learn why the complex makes sense for their business and what unique opportunities it’s afforded them. We also spoke with Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball about the unprecedented success of the complex and his visions for the future, as well as took a tour of the buildings and their wildly popular public amenity spaces such as the food hall, outdoor courtyards, and tenant lounge.
All this and more ahead
Work at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, via Scott Ettin for DNAinfo
Sunset Park was recently named one of the 15 coolest neighborhoods in the country, due in large part to the burgeoning success of Industry City and the Bush Terminal Park. And in addition to its booming creative sector, the ‘hood can now include a revival of its shipping industry on its growing list of assets. As DNAinfo reports, on June 28th a cargo ship from Denmark carrying large crane parts for construction of Staten Island’s New York Wheel arrived at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), where it was docked for five days with around 30 union longshoreman moving the cargo. This was the first shipment to the site in more than 10 years, revitalizing it as “a working maritime port facility” that will hopefully create hundreds of jobs.
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While it may not be palatial, this sweet three-bedroom, two-story (plus finished basement) townhouse at 455 37th Street in Sunset Park on a lovely street of tidy 1900s row houses would make a terrific “condo alternative.” Sunset Park, which the listing reminds us was recently dubbed the nation’s number one “edgy cool” neighborhood, is indeed a rising star. With exciting projects in the works at Industry City, an amazingly diverse mix of residents, proximity to transportation, parks and the waterfront and even a recent turn as the winter home of the Brooklyn Flea, Sunset Park is one of those places you might wish you’d moved to years ago.
But there are still deals to be had among the just-as-diverse housing choices, like this well-preserved home asking $1.405 million. And a magical back yard with an utterly charming garden studio are definitely something you won’t find in most condos.
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Move over Bushwick and Williamsburg, Sunset Park is the new cool kid in the borough. Curbed shared a report from Cushman & Wakefield that names the 100 coolest streets in the country, and coming in among the top 15 neighborhoods is Sunset Park, “where boxes and independents co-exist.” The report points to a bohemian exodus from Williamsburg, which has become more mainstream and pricey. And though hipsters are moving to ‘hoods like Bed Stuy and Crown Heights, Sunset Park outdoes them with a unique type of retail growth and creative sector thanks to the Bush Terminal Park and Industry City. The millennial population is about 27 percent and the average household income is $81,529.
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NYC-based design firm Buro Koray Duman has come up with a series of plans to use the under-utilized space beneath the BQE in a site near Sunset Park‘s Industry City, the massive waterfront industrial complex which itself has recently experienced a renaissance as a hub for designers and local manufacturers. The elevated highway separates Industry City from the rest of the neighborhood, and the proposed uses would connect the space beneath with the creative and commercial energy of the complex. According to Dezeen, the firm saw an opportunity to put the empty sub-highway space to good use and add “more color and convenience to the city’s daily life.”
Find out more about the two ideas for the under-highway space