INDUSTRIAL LIFELINE

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Manufacturing businesses in Greenpoint-Williamsburg received some good news on February 28: A long-promised $4 million fund to aid local businesses facing displacement is now a reality. The announcement came after months of negotiations between the Bloomberg Administration and Councilmembers David Yassky and Diana Reyna, who represent the neighborhoods. The largest portion of the funds, $1.5 million, will be used to relocate displaced companies to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), one of 16 areas citywide that the Bloomberg Administration designated as safe spaces for businesses, with permanent industrial zoning and special tax breaks for firms that relocate within them. Ben Branham of the city’s Department of Small Business Services said that the fund will be used to relocate some manufacturers and to retain others. But while praising the efforts of City Council members Reyna and Yassky, Adam Friedman of the New York Industrial Retention Network isn’t optimistic about the future of the businesses that attempt to remain in the rezoned area, which is adjacent to the proposed IBZ. “Ideally, I would have liked to see the city work harder to maintain a mixed-use district here,” he said. “It’s going to be very difficult for the manufacturers to hold on.” (G. Thompson) [3/7/06]