More Jobs on the Waterfront
Bay Ridge Courier 3/15/2007
New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Robert C. Lieber announced that a lease with the Axis Group has been finalized paving the way for the development of a maritime-dependant auto processing and general cargo facility at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT) in Sunset Park.
The 15-year lease includes a five-year renewal option and will bring the City $32 million in revenue. The facility will create 120 construction jobs, 167 full-times jobs and 130 part-time jobs, including auto-processors, longshoremen, warehouse personnel, transportation workers, and managerial staff. Axis has a stated goal of hiring 100 percent of its workers from the Sunset Park and Red Hook communities, and the company will work with Brooklyn’s Fifth Avenue Committee to achieve it.
“Revitalizing South Brooklyn’s working waterfront and creating additional maritime jobs is a key component of the Administration’s economic development agenda, and the reactivation of the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal is an incredibly important part of that effort,” said EDC President Lieber. “With Axis’ program for local hiring, the expected reduction in truck traffic and the company’s financial commitment to help maintain what will become Bust Terminal Park, the new facility will be a true economic asset for the residents of Sunset Park and Red Hook.”
“As we work to promote economic growth in all five boroughs, the City Council is working to encourage private development in the communities that need it the most,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “We are proud to have worked with Axis and the Economic Development Corporation towards a facility that will create hundreds of jobs for the residents of Brooklyn and New York City. I want to thank Council Member Gonzalez and Congressman Nadler for their leadership on this important agreement.”
The city will invest $40 million in SBMT for paving, other essential infrastructure work, security and rail access. Axis agreed to provide $13 million for initial capital improvements and $31 million over 20 years for maintenance of the above-grade facilities. In addition, Axis will contribute three percent of its guaranteed gross revenue, about $100,000 a year, to the maintenance of the nearby 14-acre public open space being constructed on Bush Terminal Piers 1 through 4, a much-needed amenity for the neighborhood. Axis’ facility will occupy 74 of the 88 acres at SBMT.
EDC will begin construction on the infrastructure improvements this spring and Axis will begin renovation of the facility in the summer. The facility is expected to begin operations by March 2008. Axis is committed to ensuring minimal environmental impact from the operation of its facility. It will use only zero or low emission vehicles, modern “green” car washes and other environmentally friendly equipment, and innovative rail/barge methods to reduce truck trips. The city will provide full storm water collection and control to eliminate pollution in the Gowanus Bay.
“The signing of this lease with the Axis Group is very good economic development of my district and the City of New York,” said Councilmember Sara M. Gonzalez. “It brings with it much needed jobs. I want to thank the speaker, the Council Leadership and the administration for working with me in a collaborative effort to make this happen.”
“I am thrilled that in the near future, Sunset Park residents and all of Brooklyn will benefit from the hundreds of new jobs that Axis Group will create as we work to ensure that South Brooklyn Marine Terminal reclaims its status as a thriving port facility,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “The uses of Brooklyn’s waterfront are as diverse as our Borough itself, and along with a new park already in the works in Sunset Park, the Axis facility will ensure our coast is in the clear.”
Axis will use SBMT primarily as a port of entry for finished automobiles and a processing facility for vehicles intended for wholesale distribution in the U.S. and abroad. Axis will also maintain general stevedoring services for containers, break bulk and other cargo. Axis plans to aggressively market SBMT for locally-demanded commodities—niche containers, construction materials, wallboard—to create additional jobs for local residents.
“The Axis Group is thrilled to be coming to New York City and the Sunset Park Community,” said John L. Harrington, president of the Axis Group, Inc. “We are truly grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and the Economic Development Corporation for its vision on this project and to the local elected officials including Councilmember Sara M. Gonzalez, the Sunset Park neighborhood, and numerous business and labor leaders for helping shape this project to maximize the economic benefit to the City of New York. We are eager to begin developing this site into a leading automotive logistics import facility.”
“The execution of the lease agreement with the Axis Group begins the process of bringing much needed maritime and other jobs to SBMT,” said Community Board 7 Chair Randy Peers. “We applaud EDC and the Mayor’s Office for their forward looking strategy for revitalizing Sunset Park’s waterfront.”
“The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce supports this lease because it was the right thing to do for the community and the future of the working waterfront,” said Mark Kessler, interim president and chief operating officer of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Not only does the Axis lease help confirm the North Atlantic’s status as a hub port for the region, but it also means approximately 300 jobs in Brooklyn. We commend Axis for agreeing to focus their initial recruitment efforts on the local community when filling those jobs. While discussions about the Brooklyn waterfront continue, it is good to know that areas like the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal will continue to be safe havens for the industry.”
The Axis Auto Processing facility is just one of a number of projects underway on the Brooklyn waterfront that resulted from the Strategic Port Plan developed by EDC in 1999 to serve as a blueprint for development of New York City’s maritime terminals in Brooklyn and Staten Island. EDC and the City’s Department of Sanitation are currently finalizing a lease with Sims Hugo Neu, one of the nation’s largest metal recyclers, to build a $25 million recycling facility for metal, glass and plastics on the 29th Street Pier within SBMT.
The only facility of its type in the city, it will also employ water-borne transportation and create about 100 jobs. Last year, LaFarge Cement opened a distribution facility at the 25th Street Pier to handle bargeloads of cement powder from its plant in upstate New York. The privately-financed plant serves the local construction industry and reduces trucking on local highways. At Bush Terminal Pier 6, EDC tapped C.P. Cemento, a Brazilian-based company, to renovate a pier that has been derelict since the 1970s and create a deep-sea cement import facility.