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New York City Regional Economic Development Council Submits One-Year Progress Report

NYCREDC Endorses Five Priority Projects for 2012 CFA Round Competition
(September 17, 2012)

New York City Regional Economic Development Council Submits One-Year Progress Report

The New York City Regional Economic Development Council submitted its one-year progress report to the State on September 14, 2012, which provides detail on the Council’s achievements in implementing its five year strategic plan. The report includes a description of how the Council established a framework to advance the plan, revisions to some of its strategies, an implementation agenda and a tracking of the advancement of priority job-creating projects awarded in 2011. Additionally, the NYCREDC provided the State with its list of the five priority projects the Council has endorsed for the second round of the Regional Council competition.

The progress report can be found at http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/new-york-city.

“The Regional Council initiative has transformed economic development in our city and across New York State. The Council has become an invaluable forum for businesses, nonprofits, community groups, and individuals to discuss strategies and plans to create jobs and generate regional economic growth,” said Matthew Goldstein, chancellor, The City University of New York and Regional Council co-chair. “The Council worked tirelessly last year to identify the region’s best projects, and all of the projects funded in 2011 are successfully moving forward. This year we have focused on refining our strategies and strengthening our implementation program, and through robust public participation and Council discussion we have made important adjustments to ensure a strong, effective plan for a more prosperous New York City.”

The New York City Regional Economic Development Council (NYCREDC) emerged in 2012 as an open and creative forum where community representatives, government agencies, business, labor, and academic leaders and project sponsors engaged in planning, discussion and debate over economic development proposals, policies and investment decisions for the five boroughs. During the 10 months since the completion of the Regional Strategic Plan for New York City, the Council has become more cohesive and more visible in the City and State, bringing additional transparency and ground-up engagement to local economic development planning and implementation. Council members themselves have become a new and unique point of access for project sponsors and advocates seeking to make the case for projects they believe will be transformational for their communities.

During the first three quarters of 2012, the NYC Regional Economic Development Council has updated its Strategic Plan in order to be responsive to Regional Council Guidelines and to the team of strategic plan reviewers, which assessed the region’s original Strategic Plan submission. Key adjustments include:

  • Highly focused attention to measurable accomplishments to be achieved in “opportunity zones,” those formerly distressed communities that the Council has targeted for priority investment in redevelopment;
  • A refined implementation program in which Council members are actively engaged in outreach to the broader community to identify and gather information about important economic development projects and to secure community and project sponsor feedback on progress and challenges; and
  • Amplification of the commitment to workforce development and training as a critical factor in economic growth and inclusiveness;
  • Priority projects identified in the 2011 plan are moving forward with accelerated implementation as a result of the attention and focus provided through the regional Council process:

  • The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market redevelopment project has identified all needed funding; it is anticipated that the agreement to advance the redevelopment project will be finalized in fall 2012.
  • Food industry partnerships are emerging between upstate agricultural groups and local developers, including the potential location of a distribution center for Mid-Hudson Valley farmers at Create@Harlem Green.
  • First-round State and City funding for renovation of a green manufacturing facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard is in place and construction is under way. This project demonstrated the unique capacity of the Navy Yard to serve as a model for a new kind of New York industrial park featuring advanced manufacturing and high-tech jobs. As a result, two additional projects in the Navy Yard are being proposed for 2012-13 funding.
  • In November 2012, applications will open for SeedStart, a high-tech accelerator program that will select entrepreneurs from across New York State to participate in an early stage, 12-week program to refine their product offerings and gain access to venture funding and the New York City market.
  • Mayor Bloomberg has announced three new projects as part of the city’s Applied Sciences Initiative – one a partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, to be located on Roosevelt Island, another a consortium of universities led by New York University, to be located near NYU-Poly in Downtown Brooklyn, and a significant expansion of Columbia University’s engineering school. The Applied Sciences Center on Roosevelt Island is moving ahead with development plans and, in the interim, has announced a fall 2012 start, utilizing a temporary campus provided within Google’s New York City headquarters.

The following five projects were endorsed by the Council and submitted to the State as regional priorities for the second round of the Regional Council initiative’s competitive grant funding process:

  • Connect NYC Broadband Connectivity Program - This $13 million project would address digital deserts in Industrial Business Zones in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens by building out fiber optic networks, with potential to serve 260 buildings over a two-year period. It is consistent with the Connect NY program announced by Governor Cuomo on August 21 and advances the Council’s strategy of supporting the development of high-tech industry clusters that include the most economically distressed areas of the five boroughs. The project will result in 78 construction jobs and 270 new permanent jobs.
  • New Lab - At a cost of $23.2 million, Macro Sea, Inc. plans to convert two wings of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Green Manufacturing Center, a former shipbuilding factory, into New Lab, a facility that promotes collaboration between the disciplines of design and fabrication. As master tenant, Macro Sea will transform 48,502 square feet of this space and another 30,000 square feet of newly constructed mezzanine space into a high-tech design and prototyping center that will enhance the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation's initiative to become a national model for sustainable industrial parks . This project, which will result in 150 construction jobs and 410 new jobs, and help retain 30 existing jobs, will advance the Regional Council strategies of generating new high-tech manufacturing jobs through partnerships between business and universities, and contributing to development of innovation industry clusters that will allow the city to continue to diversify and grow its economy.
  • New York City Wetlands Mitigation Bank - This $10 million project will establish a mitigation bank to facilitate waterfront development and restoration of 10 acres of targeted wetlands in New York harbor. The program will provide seed financing to fund a restoration project in one of three potential mitigation bank pilot sites: 1) Sunset Cove Park (Jamaica Bay), 2) Saw Mill Creek (Staten Island) and 3) Ferry Point Park (Bronx). Costs would include design, demolition, remediation, construction, and restoration. Public projects might include new ferry landings, waterfront esplanades and open space, upgrades to sewer infrastructure, and rehabilitated roads and bridges. Private projects in the pipeline include: development of a 170,000-square-foot industrial warehouse facility on Westchester Creek (Bronx); transport of bulk materials by barge rather than by increased truck traffic on local roads, by a recycling scrap business on Newtown Creek (Queens & Brooklyn); and expansion of ship maintenance and repair operations by a shipyard (Staten Island's North Shore). The program will leverage an estimated $576 million in infrastructure investment at 60 project sites, including 18 private waterfront projects and 42 public projects. The project will result in 120 construction jobs, and up to 3,500 new permanent jobs over five to seven year period from private and public development.
  • REDC Brownfield Cleanup and Development Grants - New York City is seeking State funding, to leverage federal and city funds, to provide direct grants to fund cleanup activities on approximately 60 brownfield projects in low-income and underserved communities throughout all five boroughs of New York City. The City Office of Environmental Remediation will provide oversight of development; review and approval of investigation reports; development, review and approval of cleanup plans; and inspection of each of the 60 development projects. These grants, to be called REDC Brownfield Cleanup and Development Grants, will be awarded in the amount of $25,000 per project and will reimburse developers for eligible cleanup costs on projects that lead to the creation of 7,205 construction jobs and 3,250 permanent new jobs and $1 billion of private investment, including over 1.2 million square feet of commercial development, and over 1,500 new units of housing, including 1,000 affordable housing units.
  • Brooklyn Navy Yard Steiner Studios Media Campus Phase III - The $110.25 million project includes the construction of nearly 100,000 square feet of new soundstages to meet the critical demand in New York for space in which to shoot television shows and commercials, and the first New York City outdoor streetscape backlot. The project also includes site preparation and preconstruction activities that will ultimately enable over 460,000 square feet of new space to be built for academic partners and media companies in renovated historic structures and new buildings. Public funding will provide the necessary water/sewer/gas/electric infrastructure loop to make site development possible. In addition to Steiner Studios, partners in the project include Brooklyn College-CUNY Graduate School of Cinema, Carnegie Mellon University, Syracuse University and other SUNY colleges. Phases 4 and 5, to follow this stage of investment, will involve $274 million of additional investment (representing a more than 9 to 1 private to public funding ratio). In total, phases 3, 4 and 5 of the project will result in 2,600 construction jobs and 2,500 full-time jobs.

Governor Cuomo created Regional Councils and the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) to fundamentally change New York’s operating model for economic development and job creation. The Regional Councils have transformed the way the State invests in economic development, shifting from a top-down approach to a community-based, performance-driven model which empowers individual regions to develop, invest in, and advance regional solutions and job-creating projects to spur economic growth.

Last year, $785 million was awarded for job-creating economic and community development projects consistent with each region’s strategic plans. To build on the success of the first round, a second round of up to $762 million in State resources was launched in 2012. Funding for the second round includes $220 million in competitive grant funding ($150 million in capital and $70 million in tax credits) to implement regional strategic plans and continue to advance priority job-creating projects, and up to $542 million from State agency programs through the CFA to support regionally-significant economic development projects.

Five awards of $25 million will be made, and the competition will have two parts:

  • First, the four regions with the 2011 Best Plans will compete for two awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds. Awards will be made based on the progress the Regional Councils have made implementing their strategies and evolution of their strategic plans
  • Second, the remaining six regions will compete for three awards of up to $25 million each in capital funds. Awards will be made based on the regions’ revised and updated strategic plans and progress made implementing their strategies

The balance of the $25 million in capital will be available for priority projects in the remaining five regions. In addition, each region will also be eligible for up to $10 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow business in the region.

Following the submission of each region’s one-year progress reports, beginning in mid-September, the Strategic Implementation Assessment Team will visit each of the 10 regions, to hear oral presentations and participate in a tour of the Councils’ implementation activity and priority projects. These tours will make New York’s economic development process more transparent, open and publicly-accessible. Funding awards for the second round of the CFA process are expected to be announced this fall.

As part of "The New New York Works for Business" campaign, the State has launched a new website – www.thenewNY.com – which provides quick access to information for all areas of business assistance available from New York State. From starting a business, to accessing tax credits and funding incentives, to international trade, to regional assistance, this is a one-stop shop for all businesses to successfully thrive in New York.

To learn more about each Regional Council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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