Capital New York:
New Yorkers should think about constructing taller manufacturing facilities and whether industrial and residential property can co-exist in some places, Mayor Bill de Blasio's top planning official said on Tuesday.
“Historically, manufacturing had to be very horizontal and it's one the reasons New York City lost so many manufacturing jobs over the past 70 years—post-World War II—as manufacturing became a much more horizontal form of business,” Carl Weisbrod, the chair of the City Planning Commission, said at a summit about the future of Long Island City.
Now, technology has changed the way a lot of production is done, delivering an opportunity “to see if the city can manufacture space by going vertical for industrial use, allowing businesses to expand,” Weisbrod said during a panel discussion at the Summit, held at Museum of the Moving Image. “I believe we're beginning to look at that.”
L.I.C. has seen a tremendous construction boom in recent years that's reshaped the neighborhood. And that work continues; just this week Tishman Speyer announced plans for a development that could total 1.2 million square feet. But much of the resulting space has been residential, which provides the greatest profits. The neighborhood has struggled to attract new commercial buildings. Beyond that, its industrial facilities have been filled to the brim with a broad range of companies that now need more space.
There are number of old industrial buildings—just one subway stop from Manhattan, off the 21st-Queensbridge F-train station—that developers could eye for residential loft conversions, said Jonathan Bowles, the executive director of the Center for an Urban Future, who also sat on the panel with Weisbrod.
“I think that we ought to be looking, should that be preserved to tech companies in the next few years may be able to go there—or creative businesses or other things,” Bowles said. “Or will it be lost to residential conversation?”
Weisbrod said that's an area where the city “might be able to look at a topography that we've really not seen much of in the city of New York, and that is modern-day manufacturing and residential in the same building, literally.”