NYC architects increasingly exporting services: report

June 12, 2013 12:00PM

The growth of New York City exports is changing the manufacturing industry, with even “starchitects” shipping their services overseas, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A report released today from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s office suggests the future of the city’s small businesses could lie in exporting architectural drawings, craft beer and more.

Richard Anderson of the New York Building Congress told the Journal he estimates about $2 billion of work is done by New York architecture and engineering firms for projects elsewhere.

Lower East Side-based architecture firm Workac, for example, turned to high-profile projects overseas after business fell by 75 percent over a few weeks in 2008. The firm converted an island in Russia into a mixed-use development and constructed a 200,000-square-foot convention center in Gabon, Africa, the Journal said.

The Brooklyn Brewery at 79 North 11th Street in Williamsburg derives a quarter of its business from exports. One of the owners expects that in five years it will grow to half, the Journal said.

The New York metro area ranks second to Los Angeles in total exports dollars, the Journal said, citing a 2012 report by the Brookings Institution. Stringer has called for the creation of a nonprofit independent regional export council that would help unify services that are provided by 17 different city, state and federal agencies. [WSJ]Mark Maurer