Councilwoman Diana Reyna attended the meeting to discuss city initiatives that could re-ignite the industrial spark in Maspeth. The meeting was held last week at the Maspeth Ale House, 64-14 Grand Ave., and sponsored by Con Edison.
“It’s important that an association like this one sets the tone,” Renya said, who is also the chair of the council’s Small Business Committee.
Reyna pushed for the protection of industrial businesses in the area, stressing that the relationship between a small business and the Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) was crucial in understanding services available for organizations and the ability for expansion.
Since 2006, New York City created 16 Industrial Business Zones across the city to provide space for industrial and manufacturing groups.
“We need to make sure that when we hear of businesses needing space that it’s infectious in a good way,” Renya said, who added that it was important for businesses to help get the proper relocation assistance and have available space when moving to a new area.
Nancy Carin, executive director of the Business Outreach Center, a micro-enterprise business development that helps with customizing business services to underserved entrepreneurs in New York City, moderated an open discussion on ways to bring business to Maspeth.
Members focused on the possibility of bringing technological advances to the neighborhood that could make the area more attractive to businesses. However, Reyna argued that difficulties with transportation were a key factor that could potentially prevent those advances.
“But it’s just as important that this area’s marketed as Long Island City,” she said, adding that it was the organization’s job to help show the potential for housing and workforce in the community that would invite newcomers.
The Maspeth Industrial Business Zone currently houses over 850 industrial businesses and is the second-largest NYC-designated IBZ, with 567 acres and containing the largest commercially used area of 20.1 million square feet.
In addition to potential advances, Carin stressed the importance of assistance. For businesses that want to upgrade their space, there are new programs to help assist them with applying for necessary funds in order to relocate or redevelop.
“We have to figure out what is the demand out there among these businesses and we’re working on that,” Carin said.