Top business leaders pledge $20M to build tech campuses across the city

April 19, 2013 11:00AM

A coalition of the city’s top business leaders have released a blueprint for the next decade of job and infrastructure investment in the city, and have pledged $20 million toward the creation of an urban technology campus to boost innovation and drive job growth, according to a copy of the report seen by The Real Deal.

The real estate industry’s job growth remained largely flat over the last decade, with an average annual growth rate of 0.4 percent over the decade, the report showed. Still, overall employment in the industry increased slightly, with 118,200 jobs at the end of 2011 compared to 114,200 jobs at the end of 2002. 

The report — released by the Partnership for New York City and backed by the chief executives of major companies including BlackRock’s Laurence Fink, Macy’s Terry Lundgren, Related Companies’ Jeff Blau, TIAA-CREF’s Roger Ferguson and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Barry Gosin — praised the Bloomberg administration’s “focus on public safety and livability as the baseline conditions for economic growth. It advanced this agenda by leveraging the city’s many assets, including an extraordinary concentration and diversity of talent, multiple global industry headquarters, and a cluster of great universities, medical research and cultural institutions.”

The report also projected a strong decade ahead, with a baseline growth rate of 4 percent, but stressed that city-owned property should be carefully evaluated for “revenue potential and economic development.”

The report’s backers also pledged a sum of $20 million to boost the city’s high-tech capabilities with the construction of a “tech campus” development. It also called for such campuses in every borough, singling out areas such as Downtown Brooklyn, Sunset Park, the Long Island City waterfront, Staten Island’s North Shore and the Port Morris and Eastchester sections of the Bronx. Though it praised the development of the Cornell-Technion campus on Roosevelt Island, the report said that it would satisfy but “a small fraction of the demand that will accompany growth of the city’s tech sector.”

“New York City offers no urban version of the West Coast tech campus environments that innovators and millennials find compelling,” the report added.

The report also called for inclusionary zoning, which it credited for the development of affordable housing by the private sector. Inclusionary zoning, the report said “should be expanded to incentivize development of commercial and industrial space in mixed use zones that is affordable to growing companies.” –Hiten Samtani