In the news: Extell International Gem Tower
January 5, 2012. Good Jobs New York testified against the proposed subsidies for Extell, GT for the troubled International Gem Tower based on transparency and accountability concerns. The project application made no mention of other expected or received benefits through New York State, including the immigrant financing program, EB-5. Read GJNY's testimony.
December, 2011. Extell, GT, developers of the International Gem Tower currently under construction in New York's diamond district is reapplying for $30 million in city subsidies. The IDA board gave preliminary approval for a $37.5 million subsidy package for the project in 2006, but the funds were not allocated. View Extell's current project application package. A public hearing has been scheduled for January 5, 2012.
June, 2010. The New York Times reports on the string of subsidies approved for the Gem Tower.
November, 2006. The Industrial Development Agency approved public subsidies for Extell Development Company to build a 725,000 square foot commercial building in Manhattan’s Diamond District on West 47th Street. The “New York Diamond Tower” would receive property, sales, and mortgage recording tax breaks worth up to $37.5 million, and would be intended to serve as a “global diamond exchange facility” that would house the various industry businesses in a centralized location.
The tower was challenged by a number of land owners and businesses along 47th Street, who contend that the project will simply pit local property owners against each other without serving the diamond industry itself. These opponents argue that segments of the diamond industry have been eroding due to high labor costs rather than real estate costs, and that a subsidized Diamond Tower would result in the poaching of existing city businesses and the destruction of the unique infrastructure that currently exists in the district.
Extell is currently developing several high profile projects and in March hired former Bloomberg administration Deputy Mayor Marc Shaw as its Executive Vice President for Strategic Planning.
The IDA's 2006 project materials include a description of the project, a cost-benefit analysis, and Extell's application for benefits. The incentive package is structured to provide Extell with hefty tax exemptions based on the percentage of building occupants that are diamond businesses, and the percentage of these businesses that are either new to New York or expanding. If less than 65% of the building is occupied by industry occupants or less than 20% is occupied by businesses new to New York or expanding, Extell loses the entire subsidy package.
Read Good Jobs New York's testimony on the project from the IDA hearing on November 9, 2006.
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GJNY takes a close look at the proposed subsidy package--worth nearly $130 million--for Fresh Direct to relocate to the South Bronx. In early 2012, Fresh Direct started a bidding war between New York City and New Jersey officials when it threatened to leave its current home in Long Island City, Queens. Learn more about the subsidies, job promises and the efforts of residents to block the on-line grocery retailer's move to their waterfront.
As government aid begins to flow into areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Good Jobs New York will provide analysis and recommendations regarding these resources that promote a transparent and equitable allocation of funds that go to individuals and businesses that need it most.
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