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BY COLIN MIXSON
The extension of state tax incentives for tenants and landlords of commercial buildings in Lower Manhattan that Gov. Cuomo signed last month is just the fuel needed to keep the area’s continued renaissance going, according to the president of the Downtown Alliance.
“While we have tremendous momentum in Lower Manhattan, we feel it’s important to continue these incentives because we haven’t finished the job yet,” said Jessica Lappin.
The tax programs extended for three years by the Albany legislature in a special session benefit large and small Downtown businesses in a variety of ways, including reduction to energy bills and sales taxes, as well as property tax rebates and income tax credits for businesses that choose to relocate Downtown, Lappin said.
“Some are used more by smaller companies, some by larger companies with hundreds of people,” said Lappin. “So they serve different uses, but they’re all important.”
Lower Manhattan has experienced tremendous growth following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, but revitalization around the World Trade Center site is still continuing 16 years later. Though 4 WTC recently reached full occupancy, 3 WTC is still seeking tenants and 2 WTC lacks an anchor tenant, which is key to unlocking the financing needed to finish construction.
The incentives, which were championed by Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou and state Sen. Daniel Squadron, were included in an extension of mayoral control of schools in New York City.
Niou described the tax incentives as an important tool in sustaining the area’s rapid growth throughout the ongoing recovery process.
“Our neighborhood attracts employers from all sectors, and it is critical that we keep this momentum going by supporting lower Manhattan’s ongoing recovery,” the assemblywoman said.
Squadron pointed to government failure as the reason why the process of rebuilding Downtown is still unfinished, and said it’s only fair the state kick in to help out local businesses.
“Lower Manhattan’s ongoing rebuilding since September 11th has been repeatedly delayed and complicated, partially because of government failures,” he said. “This is an important set of policies to help address those failures, and keep Lower Manhattan thriving and vibrant.”