Long Island City would be an ideal place for a life-sciences hub, but it hasn't attracted a critical mass of private companies because of a lack of government subsidies and other obstacles, according to a new study by a local business group.
The Long Island City Partnership's report made the case that the area's transit connections, discounted office space and favorable zoning and development sites are the perfect combination for the city's life-sciences sector, which is burgeoning in Manhattan but not in the other boroughs.
The field encompasses an array of disciplines, including pharmaceuticals and bioengineering. Because its jobs pay well, the partnership group, state and city are all trying to bump up the city's 14th-place ranking among life-sciences sectors nationwide and create square footage for it beyond Manhattan.
The state-funded report found there is often a mismatch between the cost of building life-sciences and lab space and how much companies interested in renting it are willing to pay. The partnership recommended creating tax and other incentives to make construction cheaper for developers, which would allow them to charge less for rent. The group also floated the idea of economic incentives, such as low-cost loans, to bolster tenants' ability to pay. Forgoing revenue or offering subsidies to get landlords and tenants to meet in the middle, the partnership argued, would pay economic dividends for the city and the state.
"Long Island City's strengths as a community and opportunities for space align with life-sciences company needs and the New York City market's specific demands," Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the partnership, said in a statement.