Rising rents and property values aren’t just squeezing out mom-and-pop stores and longtime New Yorkers. Manufacturers are also feeling the pinch, and on Tuesday Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a long-awaited plan to come to their aid.
The heart of the plan calls for protecting the city's 20 industrial business zones, or IBZs, from hotel and residential development while investing $442 million over 10 years in city-owned manufacturing havens such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Hunts Point in the Bronx. Protection for land zoned for light manufacturing/residential use will be proposed later, after an ongoing study is completed; the expectation is that a portion of projects in so-called Mx zones would have to be set aside for light-industrial use, which has recently been frozen out by the hot residential market.
The mayor's proposal was developed in cooperation with City Council leaders and with input from advocates for manufacturers, which should ease its passage.
One component of the plan is to end as-of-right construction of hotels and self-storage facilities in IBZs, which are zoned for heavy manufacturing. Hotels are seen as not just taking space that could go to manufacturers but as driving up land values around them, making it too expensive for industrial businesses from buying their space or expanding. Self-storage has been under fire because it provides few jobs and low wages. Hotel and self-storage projects would require a special permit, meaning they would require City Council approval.
The Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, which had been lobbying the mayor to protect industrial businesses, described the changes as "the right step in reforming decades-old land use policy to include provisions that reflect the realities of the 21st century."
But the group did not get new restrictions on big-box stores, night clubs and other uses it considers incompatible with industry. Big-box stores currently require a special permit to open in manufacturing zones.
From Capital New York:
In an effort to bolster New York City's manufacturing sector, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he will not allow homes to be built during his tenure in zones designated for industrial businesses.
Proposals for rezoning land require approval from the City Council and mayoral administrations, giving them the authority to essentially declare a blanket ban such as this.
Asked what specific mechanism would be used for this, the mayor said, "We're not accepting private applications any longer. It's a fundamentally different approach."
Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, expanded on that.
"What we are saying is that we will no longer look with any favorable, any favor on a private developer coming in and saying, 'we would like to convert this site to residential use,'" she added. "And so, again, it's not a banning. It's a signal to the market that the policy of the City of New York is that these are precious resources and we have a very aggressive plan to appropriately densify neighborhoods where we think housing should be built."