By, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
From Day One, our Administration has pursued an aggressive, five-borough economic development strategy. We’re working hard to create jobs and opportunity for New Yorkers by making every community in our city more livable, more business-friendly, and more economically diverse.
That strategy is working. New York City’s economy is definitely getting back on track. Unemployment, while still too high, is down substantially compared to a year ago. Between June 30th of last year and July 1st of this, the city gained 24,000 jobs—3,000 of them last month alone. And in recent days, businesses large and small have announced plans to create hundreds of new jobs for New Yorkers.
On Tuesday, for example, Citigroup, the City’s largest private sector employer, revealed that it will be locating 1,500 jobs in a new 14-story office building it plans to construct in Long Island City. That comes on top of MetLife’s relocation of 1,800 jobs to the area last year. It demonstrates that Long Island City—where our Administration has carried out a number of initiatives to improve transportation and the quality of life—is rapidly becoming our newest central business district. And Citigroup isn’t abandoning its longtime home in Lower Manhattan. In fact, because the company plans to increase its total workforce in the city by between 600 and 700 employees, it’s leasing an additional 420,000 square feet of office space in Manhattan by the end of the year.
The industrial park at the Brooklyn Navy Yard is another of our city’s economic success stories. There are 4,000 manufacturing and industrial jobs there, half of them held by Brooklyn residents. The Navy Yard is the perfect environment for new, small firms to get established and grow. In fact, its industrial space is 97% occupied; it’s bursting at the seams. That’s why on Wednesday, we announced that starting in 2005, the Navy Yard Industrial Park will grow by another half a million square feet of new industrial space over the next three to five years. That expansion will create 500 to 800 new manufacturing jobs; it will also involve developing attractive new retail space along Flushing Avenue.
Private dollars will help pay for this project; for its part, the City is investing $71 million over the next five years to upgrade streets, sewers, and other elements of the Navy Yard infrastructure. The City will also spend $300 million over the next few years for infrastructure to support the New York Sports and Convention Center on Manhattan’s Far West Side. Like our plans to transform the Homeport site on Staten Island, and to encourage development of a major new retail center at the Bronx Terminal Market, these investments will pay big returns in the creation of new private sector jobs in all five boroughs.
Also last week, Pollo Campero, a popular Latin American restaurant chain, opened its first restaurant in New York City—in Corona. It, and a second location that will open in Sunset Park later this month, will create 250 new jobs in our city. That’s further proof that New York’s economy is coming back strong.