Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Industrial Employment Districts

The New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN) is proposing a new form of zoning overlay, called an Industrial Employment District (IED), that would more ably serve to protect the integrity of industrially-zoned property from real estate speculators. The District would protect blue collar jobs by limiting activities in an area to production, distribution, storage and other related functions.

We enthusiastically support this concept which is now being evaluated by key City Council members. It is important to protect New York City’s manufacturing jobs which typically pay $10,000 more per year than jobs in retailing. In addition, we are of course concerned about the rampant urge of real estate developers to convert this vital manufacturing space into sites for big box stores. This was the essential variable involved in the 1996 fight over Mayor Giuliani’s megastore proposal.

It is important to also reiterate that food manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing, are part on an interrelated web of distribution. By relying on out-of-state suppliers, the introduction of box stores attacks this web at every level leaving the alleged job creation claims seriously in question.