State and city lawmakers split On City Point Project
Mosley aligned with construction unions, James satisfied with local contracts & jobs
By Stephen Witt
The remaining lawmaker aligned with construction unions is waiting for more i’s to be dotted and t’s to be crossed before he considers withdrawing from a lawsuit to halt the massive City Point project in Downtown Brooklyn.
Fort Greene Assemblyman Walter Mosley said through his spokesman Javier Lacayo that he will not drop out of the lawsuit until the developers provide more specific details regarding the local workforce on the 1.9-million-square-foot mixed-use development located on the former Albee Square Mall site just off the Fulton Mall.
“Since the beginning of the City Point proposal – before even elected to public office – Assemblyman Mosley has been for the fair and equitable development of the site. He has repeatedly made a single request to the developers: to provide him with the name of even one community member working on the project. It has been nearly a year and Assemblyman Mosley has yet to receive such information,” said Lacayo.
“Assemblyman Mosley’s commitment is to his constituency and the working families of Central Brooklyn. In lieu of empirical data to substantiate claims made by the developers, Assemblyman Mosley plans to proceed with his support of the lawsuit,” he added.
The lawmaker’s skepticism comes a little more than a week after City Councilwoman Letitia James dropped her name from the lawsuit after a group of local workers and activists from the community planned a protest in front of her office and the developer certified a high percentage of WMBEs (Women and Minority-owned Business Enterprises) on the project.
Albee Development spokesperson Tom Montvel-Cohen said between phase one and phase two of the project, $35 million has been let out in WMBE contracts and that 85 percent of the people working on the job today are either people of color, women or Brooklyn residents.
“The City Point team is very proud of its commitment to local contracting and hiring. This is evidenced by the extremely high percentages of the local and minority workforce and contacting with local and minority- and women-owned businesses as certified with the city’s Department of Small Business Services,” said Montvel-Cohen, adding that upon completion of construction, City Point will also have 120 units of desperately needed affordable housing and provide over a thousand jobs.
Much of the brouhaha concerning the development stems from it being an “open shop” project, meaning it utilizes a mix of both union and nonunion workers. The construction unions argue that by using nonunion workers the pay scale is lowered to minimum wage while local contractors argue that unions rarely employ local workers.
Currently, nobody on the City Point site is making under $20 an hour.
Martin (Ab) Allen, whose company PPEE Construction, 790 MacDonough Street in Bed-Stuy, is located in Assemblyman William Boyland’s district, just a few blocks from Mosley’s district, said he currently has 40 people working on City Point from NYCHA’s Farragut, Wyckoff and Gowanus Houses as well as residents from Brownsville, Fort Greene, Bed-Stuy and Bushwick.
“If this project was a full union shop none of these people would be working there,” said Allen, who is himself a union member.