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Thread: Manhattan Strikes Back at Suburbs

  1. #1

    Default Manhattan Strikes Back at Suburbs

    July 16, 2003

    Manhattan Strikes Back at Suburbs


    The suburbs have long been luring businesses away from Manhattan, offering amenities like easier commutes, lower rents and financial incentives.

    Now the Alliance for Downtown New York has counterattacked with a campaign to attract small and medium-size businesses from the suburbs, as well as other parts of Manhattan, offering various amenities, low rents and financial incentives of its own.

    "This is the first time we have launched a concerted campaign," said Shirley Jaffe, the vice president for economic development at the Alliance, the business improvement district for the area south of Chambers Street. "We want to attract businesses and increase awareness about the area."

    The group has prepared a 14-page book detailing the advantages of doing business in Lower Manhattan, citing the 15 subway lines running through the area, the density of the telecommunications infrastructure (82 percent of buildings have two or more carriers) and a well-educated work force.

    The mailings are going to companies that had previously expressed an interest in the downtown and each mailing will be followed up with telephone calls from a staff member. The campaign got under way last week with mailings to 326 companies in New Jersey, particularly in the areas along the Hudson River where developments have been attracting businesses formerly in Manhattan.

    "That rivalry has been a big deal, so we included it in the areas to be targeted," Ms. Jaffe said, adding that Westchester and Rockland Counties and the Midtown and Midtown South areas of Manhattan would be included in appeals to 5,200 companies that have 10 to 100 employees.

    The Alliance's effort to attract companies from New Jersey parallels what officials of New York's Economic Development Corporation say is a strong push by that agency to bring back some of the jobs that have crossed the river.

    "New Jersey has been very aggressive about attracting jobs and now we are going to return the favor," said Andrew M. Alper, president of the Economic Development Corporation.

    He said about 12 million square feet of office space had been built on the west side of the Hudson and about 50,000 jobs, many of them in back-office operations of financial services companies based in New York, had left the city.

    Mr. Alper said many jobs were lost because there were few suitable buildings in lower-cost parts of the city, like downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City. Recent zoning changes in some areas, he said, have made these locations more attractive for development.

    "We have a big opportunity now in New Jersey to get some of these back-office jobs back, and we have intensified our efforts in the last six weeks," Mr. Alper said. "We are meeting with companies that are in New Jersey and explaining our value proposition to them."

    Ms. Jaffe said the downtown is now very competitive with New Jersey because the slow economy has lowered rents for commercial office space. .

    With the PATH trains between Jersey City and downtown scheduled to resume in November and with the economic disparity narrowed by declining rents and the availability of tax advantages and other incentives, Ms. Jaffee said some businesses might be tempted to move into Lower Manhattan. A lively social and cultural life in the downtown area would be an additional incentive, she said.

    "Companies do not make these decisions only on the bottom line," Ms. Jaffe said. "We don't expect them to jump immediately, but we want to make them aware of the assets that are here, so when their leases expire, we are on their minds. It's like a broker making cold calls."

    With a vacancy rate of about 12 percent in the downtown area, rental rates in the Class B buildings that dominate the area have fallen into the mid-$20's a square foot annually, she said. Added to that are existing incentives tied to the number of employees a company brings to the city that can reduce rents by an additional $8 a square foot annually, she added.

    To allow companies considering the move to compute what level of incentives they would receive, the Downtown Alliance has posted a calculator on its Internet site, .

    Ms. Jaffe said staff members started calling companies in New Jersey last week and would continue to try to make contact for several more weeks.

    "We want them to know the Alliance exists," she said, "and that we are a nonprofit, not a broker."

    Once the New Jersey effort is largely complete, another round of mailings and follow-up telephone calls will commence, with the next target being companies in certain ZIP codes in Midtown South, the area roughly between 34th Street and 20th Street. Of the 5,200 businesses to be contacted, Ms. Jaffe said, 3,200 are in Manhattan.

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by Kris; October 4th, 2009 at 11:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default Manhattan Strikes Back at Suburbs

    Fantastic idea, but 3200/5200 are in Manhattan! *How dumb is that. *This seems a bit too selfish for my taste. *NYC as a WHOLE should be luring business - dowtown, midtown, brooklyn, wherever, as long as it's w/in city limits. *I dunno. *Maybe I'm wrong. *But it is great to see people finally wake up and give Jersey a taste of it's own medicine.

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