Manufacturing in New York City isn’t dead. It just needs some nurturing.
Industrial areas like the one in Maspeth provide 342,000 jobs in New York City, according to a 2014 study by the City Council. But advocates and Maspeth business leaders worry that if Mayor Bill de Blasio does not do more to protect industrial areas, many of these jobs could lose out to the more profitable housing market.
“There’s just a shortage of industrial property in New York City,” said Jean Tanler, president of Maspeth’s Industrial Business Zone “It’s detrimental to the economy as a whole.”
Researchers at the Pratt Center for Community Development are concerned that as de Blasio continues to push for new affordable housing development, many manufacturers will be pushed out to make room for housing, taking with them high paying jobs with an average salary of $50,000.
“We support the mayor’s goal for affordable housing,” said Adam Friedman, a co-author of the study “Making Room for Housing and Jobs.” “But we believe saving manufacturing jobs is essential for this goal.”
In the study, researchers argued that these industrial zones should be considered sanctuaries for jobs through a strict zoning code that would prevent real estate predators and hotels. Preventing the development of big-box retail and storage warehouses, which provide fewer jobs than industrial businesses, would strengthen these areas. These steps, they argue, would prevent industrial areas from eroding.