From The Mayor’s Desk ...
New York City’s economy is strong and getting stronger. The city’s unemployment rate is lower than it was before 9/11. During the last quarter, our economy grew faster than the na-tion’s. Success usually has a way of building on itself — we saw that last week, when Weight Watchers, the in-ternational diet company, relocated its corporate headquarters here, bringing 100 more new jobs with them.
A healthy economy is a diversified one, and New York’s over-dependence on Wall Street has long been a problem. That’s why our Administration is working hard to grow other major in-dustries, including tourism, film production and manufacturing. We’ve iden-tified biotechnology as another area ripe for growth. New York’s world-class universities and research hospitals, and our deep pool of medical and scientific talent, already produce bio-tech start-up companies. But once they start to grow, they often run out of room here, and move out of town, taking jobs with them.
It’s time to reverse that trend. That’s why last week we unveiled plans for a $700 million, privately financed bioscience center on Manhattan’s East Side. Work on this project, which will produce 4,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent new jobs, will start early next year. This East River Science Park will include labs, offices and a conference center. When the first two buildings are fully occupied, the City will begin to receive $2 million a year in rent from the developer. When the project is fully built out, it will add $350 million a year to our economy, and generate more than $16 million in annual City tax revenues.
This development is going to go up on land near Bellevue Medical Center currently occupied, in part, by an ob-solete hospital laundry. It’s just one more example of how our Adminis-tration is bringing private, multi-million dollar, job-creating investment to under-used city-owned land in all five boroughs.
Last month, for example, we closed a deal to turn a five-acre municipal parking lot in Flushing into a $500 million privately financed project creating stores, apartments and a multiplex cinema. Earlier this summer, we broke ground for a new shopping mall on formerly city-owned land on Staten Island; it will produce hundreds of con-struction and permanent jobs. The stores and other businesses set for the new $400 million Bronx Terminal Market will create 2,000 permanent new jobs and be the gateway to the borough that the people of the Bronx have long deserved. In a similar fashion, the pro-posed $3.5 billion Atlantic Yards project — also set to be built on under-utilized publicly owned land — would be the biggest private investment pro-ject in Brooklyn history, creating new retail stores, offices, 4,500 mixed-income apartments and a new sports arena.
To make sure that all of New York’s communities share in the city’s prosperity, our Administration is also open-ing the doors of opportunity, in both the public and private sectors, to more of our growing number of minority- and women-owned businesses. Under my Executive Order 36, we’ve cut the time it takes for such companies to certify to do business with the city from two months to two weeks; as a result, over the last three years, more companies have certified than did in the previous five years. The purchasing agents of City departments also have increased their outreach to mi-nority- and women-owned businesses. And in all five boroughs, our Business Solution Centers are helping emerging companies find the financing and trained workers they need. It’s all part of our commitment to making New York a city of opportunity for all — and it’s really producing results.