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October 26, 2005
Mayor Bloomberg and the outlook for economic development in New York
In the current issue of City Journal, Steven Malanga (author of The New New Left) tries to get a handle on Bloomberg's new-found pessimism when it comes to economic development in the city. As Malanga points out, Bloomberg's recent negativity about the prospects for Ground Zero are a jarring disconnect with the upbeat, pro-growth message he has been sharing on the mayoral campaign trail:
"What’s strange about the mayor’s position, though, is that for months his campaign has bombarded us with commercials celebrating how vibrant the city’s economy is supposed to be, thanks of course to the mayor’s policies. The ads have declared that the city has revived from the effects of 9/11, supposedly creating tens of thousand of jobs in the process. In announcing his new economic development package recently, the mayor boldly predicted that he would create 250,000 more jobs.
But how can we possibly square these messages with the mayor’s sudden admission that New York may not be able to support 10 million square feet of new office space in Lower Manhattan, which would house only about 40,000 jobs? Can it mean that candidate Bloomberg is guilty of a bit of hyperbole about the city’s economy?"
It's hard to argue with Bloomberg's pro-business credentials, but it's also a bit disheartening to see what's happening in Lower Manhattan. It's been four years now since 9/11, and thus far, the only tenant the city has found for the World Trade Center site has been the developer responsible for bringing in other tenants. And now, even Larry Silverstein has apparently been given the boot by Bloomberg. 1,504 days later, and we're back to square one.
UPDATE: The New York Post is reporting that Silverstein just landed the first tenant at 7 World Trade - the New York Academy of Sciences. OK, so we're not at square one anymore.
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