On Tuesday, a new coalition of 11 policy advocacy group and industrial service providers called on the de Blasio administration to take bolder steps to strengthen the city’s industrial sector. Their platform of demands, which can be viewed here, includes comprehensive restrictions on non-industrial uses in Industrial Business Zones (IBZs) and manufacturing zones, investments in IBZ infrastructure, and support for non-profit industrial business organizations that provide affordable space to manufacturers.
The de Blasio administration already committed to a variety of investments and zoning restrictions in its Industrial Action Plan, launched in September 2015. For instance, the city promised not to allow residential conversions in IBZs and to limit non-industrial uses in such zones by creating a new permitting process for self-storage facilities and hotels—a regulation the city hopes to soon introduce for self-storage facilities after more than a year of delay (the equivalent for hotels is still behind schedule). The city also launched a $150 million Industrial Development Fund to support non-profit industrial developers and committed $5.3 million to investments in IBZ Broadband, among several other measures.
The Industrial Jobs Coalition, which includes groups like the Association for Housing and Neighborhood Development, the Business Outreach Center Network, the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center and others, says these are all promising first steps, but that the administration could go farther. They want to see the city restrict not just self-storage and hotels but also office building and large-scale entertainment businesses from industrial areas. They are calling for further investments in infrastructure, a vocal commitment from the administration to work with non-profit developers when disposing of city-owned land and to increase partnerships with industrial business service providers, and a continued commitment to the Industrial Business Fund, among other measures.
The coalition says its will now meet with community boards throughout the city to discuss industrial policy on a local level.