Orange Signs Mark Greenpoint Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone
On our return to the Brooklyn office, we were greeted by a number of these cheery orange street signs, declaring about 15 blocks of the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront part of the "Greenpoint Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone". The zone covers the area roughly bounded by Kent Avenue, Dobbin Street, Berry Street, and North Ninth, encircling the Bushwick Inlet.
We followed the signs' handy url to the "Mayor's Office for Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses" and read through the rhetoric (so you don't have to):
Turns out, the Greenpoint Williamsburg IBZ is one of sixteen designated zones spread throughout the five boros, where the Bloomberg administration has created "safe havens" for industrial and manufacturing concerns, in light of skyrocketing rents, residential rezones, and the general perception that New York is a difficult place to locate and operate a manufacturing business. By creating various incentives, and concentrating businesses that are perhaps 'less than compatible' with residential needs, the Mayor figures its a win-win situation.
Finally, no Williamsburg zoning piece is complete without a dramatic back-story followed by massive compromise to residential mega-developers.
Specifically, businesses relocating to these zones can qualify for:
1. A $1,000 tax credit per employee - up to $100,000 total.
2. Free business assistance from a designated "Industrial Business Solutions Provider" who can offer "free, quick and reliable answers to a broad range of business questions" - in other words, a Fixer - in theory someone with an 18 volt cordless red tape cutter and two spare batteries.
The second benefit is offered to selected lots contained in a much larger "Ombudsman Area" that surrounds some of the IBZs.
Additionally, the site promotes the following additional benefits:
- Planning Studies: the city will look into revising the area's parking, so Joe, the lathe operator, doesn't have to shut down the line to move his car every day at 10 am; and encouraging similar industries to locate near each other, i.e. garment industries in the Garment District IBZ...
- "Creating Real Estate Certainty": The site suggests (depending on which page you read), that the Bloomberg administration either "guarantees it will prohibit any new residential development" or "guaranteed not to support the rezoning of industrial property for residential use".
Copy editing like that has certainty written all over it. We think.