Retail businesses set up shop in Bloomberg’s industrial zones

October 28, 2009 05:19PM

The industrial zones set aside by Mayor Michael Bloomberg five years ago are having trouble holding onto their boundaries as hotels, superstores, and other retail businesses move into the areas. A recent New York Industrial Retention Network report says that although residential conversion is prohibited in 16 areas in the outer boroughs, as per the Bloomberg administration’s policy, non-industrial businesses are setting up shop there anyway. The report says 39 sites within the zones are non-industrial, including two bowling alleys, an art gallery, and a number of bars in Williamsburg; and a shopping center in East Greenpoint. The industrial zoning was intended to keep real estate prices low, but industrial rents are up to $18 per square foot, which is double the price in 2000. Industrial advocates say companies are being driven out of the city in the absence of zoning enforcement, while a spokesperson for the city’s Department of Small Business Services said some commercial development can be “healthy” for industrial zones.