The Red Hook waterfront is undergoing significant development concurrent with the new cruise line terminal, and a clash has emerged between those pushing for more commercial development and others attempting to build more residential complexes. On a large scale, the battle is playing out in an Economic Development Corporation proposal to convert 120 acres of currently industrial piers to residential developments, a proposal the long-time industrial users fiercely oppose. This conflict is also playing out on a smaller scale, most notably in the fight over the old Revere sugar refinery.
Thor Equities plans to build residential housing, stores, and a marina on the property, which is surrounded by industrial activity like the nearby Erie Basin Bridgeport. While the owners of that Bargeport claim its noisy 24-hour operation make the area suitable only for commercial use, Brooklyn Community Board 6 exempted the site from the surrounding Industrial Business Zone, and the project’s developers claim such mixed neighborhoods have worked well in other cities and will work in Red Hook.
Similar battles have been fought in Red Hook over developments like the new Fairway store and proposed residential development on a currently vacated lot on Conover Street. None of these conflicts has been nearly as visible, however, as the proposed IKEA store. Proponents of the project say the project will create more than 500 new jobs, and that the construction of a new public esplanade will return the waterfront to the surrounding neighborhood. Opponents argue the project will adversely impact traffic and destroy historic structures.