New York— Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council issued a comprehensive report detailing the state of New York City’s industrial sector and proposed new approaches to reinvigorating New York’s manufacturing districts as engines of economic opportunity.
The report identifies new zoning and land use tools that can help New York City support and nurture growth in both the manufacturing sector and the growing “creative” sector industries. These tools include “industrial employment districts”, “creative economy districts”, and new kinds of zoning to more effectively support mixed-use industrial, residential, and commercial neighborhoods.
Industrial companies currently employ approximately nearly 350,000 New Yorkers—approximately 10% of the city’s private sector workforce. In Brooklyn and Queens, jobs in manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities pay an average salary of $51,000 annually — more than double the average salary of service sector jobs. Not only do these jobs serve as a conduit into the middle class for many first-generation immigrants, but they also grow the local economy; according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, every dollar in the final sale of manufactured goods generates $1.33 in additional output.
“New York City’s industrial sector bolsters our local economies and provides strong stable jobs for our workforce,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The proposals outlined in our report shed light on how we can harness the power of manufacturing to grow and diversify our city’s economic and community development—while balancing the need for livable neighborhoods. These jobs are gateways to greater opportunity for New York City’s working families, and I look forward to putting these recommendations to action.”
“New York City has always been a nationwide economic leader because of the ingenuity and entrepreneurship of our residents. Today, thanks to existing manufacturing zones, New Yorkers are redefining industry and creating well-paying jobs. We need to nurture this economic growth by ensuring our creative and industrial sectors are able to grow and thrive while planning for the future. I thank our Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for prioritizing this issue and look forward to working with my colleagues to updating our zoning regulations to allow for responsible growth,” said Council Member David G. Greenfield, Chair of the New York City Council Committee on Land Use.
“Preserving and creating manufacturing jobs, and space where these jobs can exist, is extremely important for my district and for the city as a whole,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Keeping manufacturing in the city encourages both economic development and sustainability, and it is important that we remember this as we consider what development looks like in this new administration. The manufacturing sector provides the high-quality jobs with low barriers to entry that allow families to stay and flourish in the city, and we want make sure it is encouraged and expanded.”
“Protecting manufacturing areas cannot be overlooked in our economic development strategy,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “As this report shows, the Council will continue to take an active role in diversifying our local economy.”
“New York is a city of makers — enterprising creative firms whose operations create quality jobs and whose products exemplify the diversity and dynamic energy of our world-class metropolis,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy. “Earlier this year, the City Council demonstrated its support for these businesses by advocating for increased funding for industrial and business service providers in the FY 2015 budget. However, the “Engines of Opportunity” report takes several critical steps forward by advocating for three significant zoning changes, each well-supported by an understanding of history and market conditions. I look forward to interacting with the administration, advocates and business owners as we work to advance these proposals to ensure the continuing health of New York’s industrial and manufacturing businesses.”
“Under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the City Council is today demonstrating that it has a strong vision for protecting existing manufacturing and fostering new innovation in New York City,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “This excellent report shows how creative land use policies can make neighborhoods like Williamsburg competitive in the 21st century economy. Thank you to Speaker Mark-Viverito and the staff who worked on this report.”
“New zoning tools are needed to protect and strengthen NYC’s manufacturing sector and our vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods — including places like Gowanus in my district in Brooklyn. Whether its the innovation economy, our creative sector, or simply a place for our sanitation trucks, New York City can only thrive with enough room for industry,” said Council Member Brad Lander. I’m proud that the City Council is leading the way toward a more productive and inclusive city.”
“Neighborhoods like Sunset Park and Red Hook in my district rely greatly on the industrial sector to serve as an engine for economic and workforce development,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca. “I commend the Speaker on this report and her commitment to the City’s industrial base. We must look holistically at how to stabilize manufacturing-zoned neighborhoods, limit real estate speculation and support local production. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the City Council and local partners to achieve these land use and community development objectives.”
The report proposes innovative zoning frameworks and mechanisms to address these long-term goals:
1) Industrial Employment District – A zoning district which reserves space for the industrial sector, which is critical to the economic well-being of thousands of New Yorkers and the health of the overall economy. In places where a concen¬tration of manufacturing and industrial activity exists — in many of the existing “Industrial Business Zones” for instance — a re-writing of the use regulations to focus on the protection and growth of these industries is essential, as is allowing for additional density to create the option for more space for new and existing firms to expand. Combined with new strategic incentives and tar¬geted enforcement, these districts will provide a stable regulatory framework for investment.
2) Creative Economy District –With additional commercial density added to a protected core of industrial space, these districts would create dynamic new mixed-use employment centers and provide space for the growing “creative” sectors of technology, media, arts, and design. Job growth in these districts would no longer be hindered by competition for land with incompatible uses like mini-storage or nightlife, or blocked-out by unproductive warehousing of property in hope of future residential rezoning. With additional commercial density, property owners would gain much more lucrative development opportunities than under the current zoning while growing the City’s employment base. Robust workforce development strategies will need to be implemented in tandem with these new districts to ensure a wide variety of New Yorkers will have access to these new jobs.
3) A Real Mixed Use District – Mixed-use industrial-residential-commercial neighborhoods have a unique dynamism that has made them tremendously desirable. Other cities are increasingly trying to emulate the dynamic synergy of these mixed-use neighborhoods. A zone which supports and requires the creation of commercial and compatible industrial space alongside residen¬tial would create dynamic new neighborhoods instead of just residential development.
“We are thrilled that the NYC Council values industrial jobs and has proposed new, modern zoning tools to nurture their growth,” said Leah Archibald, Executive Director of EWVIDCO.
“GMDC is thankful that the Council has recognized the importance of protecting and growing the City’s industrial base. The recommendations outlined in the committee’s report will help to ensure that the good jobs that this sector creates are secured and valued,” said Brian T. Coleman, CEO, Greenpoint Manufacturing & Design Center (GMDC).
“Our manufacturing sector is a key driver of quality jobs and a path to the middle-class. A comprehensive strategy for growing and modernizing for the New Industrial NYC will play a huge role in keeping this city a place that provides opportunities for all,” said Benjamin Dulchin, Executive Director, Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.
“The extraordinary wealth of New York’s design talent, the depth and sophistication of its market and the talent of its workers make New York a great place for manufacturing,” said Adam Friedman, Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development. “The Council’s proposals offer the new land use tools that we need to capture the full job creation potential of this sector.”