With power that expands beyond real estate, EDC boosts the city’s economy

TRD New York /
Feb.February 13, 2012 09:00 AM

Now in its 20th year of existence, the city’s Economic Development Corp. has transcended simple real estate development and used its increased power to boost the New York City economy, according to Crain’s.

Initially formed to build structures for job creators and lure manufacturers to the city with tax incentives, the EDC has also begun to create new business incubators, training programs and venture funds for entrepreneurs. The EDC has also worked to bring life to waterfront areas, and revitalize neighborhoods through development of the High Line, Coney Island and Willets Point. Further, it’s pushed for the diversification of the city’s economy by building out industries suited for the city’s existing advantages.

This goes beyond the simple stadium-building and tax abatement programs other U.S. cities use to spur their economies and has forced them to take notice, said Bruce Katz, director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute.

“There’s been a quantum shift under this mayor,” said EDC President Seth Pinsky. “We’ve turned EDC into an agency that works not just to get company X to locate in New York, but we think more strategically about what we can do to Make New York A Better Place for all companies.”

In Mayor Michael Bloombeg’s 10 years at the helm, the agency has doubled its spending to $500 million, which in turn, has increased the city’s revenues from manufacturing spaces to more than $42 million. However, Crain’s noted that some opponents, led by Comptroller John Liu, feel the EDC has become too powerful. [Crain’s]

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