Condo Towers Force Out Remaining Industries in NYC

A new round of zoning changes in NYC could mean the loss of over 20% of industrial-zoned land in the city.

"'The Bloomberg administration had a strategic plan from the beginning - to rezone or redevelop manufacturing areas to promote, originally, office space,' said Pratt Center Executive Director Brad Lander.

'But it's worked out to be almost entirely residential development,' he said. 'There's a real concern it's gone too far.'

More than 20 Bloomberg rezonings have converted manufacturing land into residential or commercial uses, transforming neighborhoods like Red Hook, Long Island City and the South Bronx into trendy residential addresses.

Seth Pinsky, head of the city Economic Development Corp., said many of the rezonings, in Brooklyn's Greenpoint and Williamsburg for example, sought better uses for run-down, largely vacant manufacturing sites.

The dwindling stock of manufacturing space has made already pricey land more expensive, Lander said. Many factories grandfathered in after rezonings soon seek cheaper options elsewhere, such as New Jersey - leading to the loss of well-paying blue-collar jobs."

Full Story: City industries feel squeeze with rezoning attracting developers



Michael Lewyn's picture

Illustrating the absurdity of use-based zoning

How are city bureaucrats supposed to know how much of a city's real estate should be devoted to housing as opposed to other land uses? When libertarians complain about "Soviet-style planning" this is the sort of thing that they worry about (or at least should be worrying about if they aren't!)

Planners under the bed?

'city bureaucrats', AKA city planners, if competent, actually have a very good fix on the intrinsically competing characteristics of residential and industrial uses. Efficient delivery and competitive costs for the commodities (fresh and varied produce and groceries, retail goods, etc.) and services (restaurants, hotels, convention and catering support, public works corp yards, etc.) which make city life attractive are absolutely dependent upon close-in, contiguous zones of industrial/distribution land with good access to both regional and local transportation networks. Residential development permitted within those zones invariably drives out industrial (manufacturing and distribution) uses as the new residents apply political pressure to 'Locally Undesirable' (read traditional/pioneering/original/zoned) land uses with their dust, noise and early-morning/late-night deliveries. Industrial landowners, faced with the loss of their historical tenants, can't be blamed for then seeking upzoning of their land to allow residential development, and the loss of production, distribution, and maintenance jobs essential to city economic vitality snowballs. This isn't a 'Soviet-style planning' ploy; it's solid urban economics.

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