The LIC Summit at the Museum of the Moving Image
The One Things that was Clear, Amidst a Number of Rapidly Shifting Trends, was that the Times They are a Changing
Last Tuesday, on a fairly nice October day, I visited the Museum of the Moving Image, to attend the LIC Summit which was organized by the Long Island City Partnership [LICP]. According to their website - at https://www.longislandcityqueens.com - the description and mission of the Long Island City Partnership is as follows:
"... [The] Long Island City Partnership(LICP) is the neighborhood development organization for LIC [Long Island City]. Our mission is to advocate for economic development that benefits the area’s industrial, commercial, science and technology, cultural, tourism, and residential sectors. The goal is to attract new businesses to LIC, retain those already here, engage residents and visitors, and promote a vibrant and authentic mixed-use community. LICP also operates the LIC Business Improvement District and LIC Industrial Business Zone (LIC IBZ), providing business services and assistance...".
The photo at right shows that it was a packed house at the LIC Summit this year at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria / LIC in Queens.
I believe the first Long Island City Partnership Summit was held in 2014 [also at the Museum of the Moving Image], which we reported on at the time. Based on their outreach this year, the purpose of the event remains largely intact, which is as follows, " ... to shape the future of the neighborhood, focusing discussions on LIC’s public spaces, sustainability and resiliency, as well as the challenges and opportunities of NYC’s fastest growing neighborhood ...".
So, while a lot has changed in Long Island City, Queens, NYC - and for that matter the world - their goals and efforts remain constant amidst this changing world. Likewise, many of the key issues of nearly a decade ago, haven't gone away. These include the scarcity of affordable housing, the need for public space and accessible transit, and the challenge of curating an environment where local small businesses can create and operate viable business models. And ... to be sure ... we are also facing new challenges, which include the time sensitive need to transition to renewable energy, and build and sustain resilient infrastructure - particularly in low lying and waterfront neighborhoods.
What follows are some excerpts from the participants of the Keynote panel at the LIC Summit. The participants included Moderator Carl Weisbrod, Senior Adviser at HR&A; and panelists Justin Ginsburgh, Managing Director Infrastructure Jet Blue; Donovan Richards, Jr, Queens Borough President; and Maria Torres-Springer, NYC Deputy Mayor of Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce for the City of New York.
- CLICK here to read the rest of our report on the LIC Summit by the LIC Partnership / real estate in Long Island City, Astoria & Queens NYC.
Commercial Vacancies in LIC and NYC - Maria Torres-Springer
The first topic discussed was addressed to Ms. Torres-Springer regarding the real estate vacancies in LIC and NYC. We were told that currently, there is three million square feet in LIC that is vacant, and about a total of 100 million square feet that is vacant in NYC. The critical piece of information needed to understand regarding this huge amount of vacant square footage in NYC, against the back drop of scarce affordable housing, is that the vacancies are of commercial real estate - designed and built to accommodate offices and other businesses - not home dwellers.
The Adams Administration has been trying to help building owners fill up this space, by providing zoning flexibility for conversion of some of the spaces to residential. Concern was voiced about what impact business to residential zoning changes, might have on the development / evolution of local business districts.
Sustainability & Resiliency / Grey & Green Infrastructure - Borough President Donovan Richards
Richards talked about the development of grey and green infrastructure in Queens and NYC. According to Conservation International, " ... Green infrastructure refers to natural systems including forests, floodplains, wetlands and soils that provide additional benefits for human well-being, such as flood protection and climate regulation. Gray infrastructure refers to structures such as dams, seawalls, roads, pipes or water treatment plants ...".
Richards talked about grey and green infrastructure in the context of real estate development, and specifically about 'Innovation Zones'. Last year, in November of 2022, the NYC Council approved a massive real estate development project named, Innovation Queens, which covers four large blocks that are adjacent / north of Northern Blvd, and east of 37th Avenue. Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Museum of the Moving Image lie in the heart of it.
- More coming on Innovation Queens and the LIC Summit.