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New York: Big Apple Incentives Lead Statewide Multisector Development

Mali R. Schantz-Feld (Oct/Nov 09)
Development leaders throughout the Empire State are targeting incentives and steering federal stimulus money to its most promising sectors.

In New York City, Instead of depending on a single cyclical sector, diversification plans target such industries as bioscience, fashion, financial services, digital media/technology, and tourism. Libby Langsdorf, spokesperson for New York City Economic Development Corporation, says that recent zoning changes "will allow us to leverage significant private investment to create economically viable neighborhoods in areas that have been underdeveloped and/or underutilized for decades."

Pharmaceutical company ImClone is locating research headquarters on such underutilized land, at the developing 1.1 million-square-foot East River Science Park on Manhattan's East Side. More research activity is expected throughout all of the state due to the receipt of more than $600 million awarded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA); more than 1,100 research grants have been funded.

Recovery of the financial services industry is central to the Big Apple's economic renaissance. To rally this sector, in February, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced 11 initiatives, including programs to retrain laid-off financial services professionals and to provide incubator space for startup companies, as well as training for entrepreneurs and startups. SecondMarket, Inc. and its affiliate, Pluris Valuation Advisors, received a $1.2 million grant from the WTC Job Creation and Retention Program in exchange for creating up to 367 new jobs over the next four years in Lower Manhattan.

"As a financial services company, NYC is the most logical location [for us]," says Mark D. Murphy, a SecondMarket spokesperson.  He says the grant, along with reduced rental rates in the downtown area, were key factors in the expansion "Most importantly, we believe that NYC continues to attract intelligent, dynamic and innovative individuals, and has allowed SecondMarket to attract top-level talent in all areas of the company."

New York City's incentives also target smaller businesses. K.Y. Chow, president of Grand Meridian Printing relocated from his 850-square-foot printing shop in Chinatown into a new $3.3 million, 15,000-square-foot headquarters in Long Island City, in the borough of Queens. "As a first generation immigrant from Hong Kong, New York City was very similar to the economic environment of Hong Kong - full of opportunity, densely populated, and multicultural, with higher purchasing capabilities, well-developed infrastructure," says Chow. Besides minority-owned business entity (MBE) funding, he applauds other incentives from the federal government such as 504 IDA/SBA loans and tax incentives for business, as well as training grants, relocation grants, and equipment efficiency grants.

Eight new initiatives revolve around the media sector, which employs about more than 300,000 people, nearly 10 percent of the City's private work force. While traditional media is expected lag at 1 percent through 2015, more technology-oriented media - including global mobile entertainment, Internet gaming, social networking, and user-generated content estimate potential growth to reach 35 percent.
In New York's upstate regions, opportunities are trending toward technology and high-tech manufacturing. GlobalFoundries' $4.2 billion computer chip plant in Malta, near the state capital of Albany, is expected to create 1,400 jobs. Representing the largest public-private sector industrial investment in New York state history, the project is currently scheduled for opening in 2012. Under construction nearby is the $13 million TEC-SMART facility, also in Malta, geared towards training employees for GlobalFoundries and companies involved with semiconductor manufacturing, alternative fuels, and installation and maintenance of photovoltaic, geothermal, and wind energy systems.

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