Sunday, November 1, 2009

Report says IBZs are undermined

From Crain's:

Dozens of hotels, superstores and other non-industrial businesses are encroaching on areas the Bloomberg administration set aside to protect the city's dwindling manufacturing base, a new report charges.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's five-year-old industrial policy prohibits residential conversion in 16 outer-borough Industrial Business Zones to help stave off increases in real estate prices that could threaten manufacturing. But the report by the New York Industrial Retention Network alleges the protection has been undermined because at least 39 sites in the IBZs are being used for non-industrial purposes.

Among the non-industrial businesses are two bowling alleys, an art gallery and several bars in a Williamsburg IBZ and a shopping center in East Greenpoint.

The report shows that industrial rents in the outer boroughs have doubled since 2000, to $18 per square foot, and argues that for IBZs to truly be effective, they need to be reinforced through zoning that restricts non-industrial use. The escalating rents, not just globalization and regulation, are driving companies out of the city, the report argues.

“We are losing the next generation of small, creative industries that are vital to the city's economic diversity and the renewal of its middle class,” said NYIRN Executive Director Anne Seifried. “It's frustrating to see a preventable situation continue unchecked.”

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