Land Seizure May Cost Queens 115 Manufacturing Jobs
Manufacturing jobs are on the decline in New York City. Citywide, 58,507 such jobs, where people use machines and tools at work to turn raw materials into goods for sale, were lost from 2001 through 2008. Many manufacturing employers are small business owners.
In Queens, manufacturing jobs declined from 42,268 in 2001 to 27,113 in 2008, the second largest loss in New York City next to Manhattan, where 24,723 manufacturing jobs disappeared. The reasons for the loss of manufacturing jobs are multifaceted. Rising real estate costs, global competition and advancing technology have affected manufacturers in New York City.
Queens may lose another 115 manufacturing jobs by action of New York state. Karp Associates, a manufacturer of building maintenance doors that has been in business in Maspeth since 1957, is faced with the loss of its property by eminent domain. Karp land at 54-54 43rd St. was seized by the New York State Department of Transportation in September 2010 as part of the project to replace the Kosciuszko Bridge. Foundations for the proposed new bridge are planned on the half- block Karp owns on 43rd Street between 55th Avenue and 54th Road. NYSDOT has given Karp until Oct. 1, 2012 to vacate the premises.
Karp Vice President of Operations George Kosser said that although the company wants to stay in Queens, they are looking into a move to Long Island, where Karp has another facility in Melville, or to New Jersey. In all, about 12 states have expressed interest in having
Karp Associates, and New Jersey is a top prospect. “It costs money to operate a business in New York City that doesn’t exist in other states,” Kosser said in an October 21 New York Daily News report.
The New York State Empire State Development Corporation has offered Karp incentives worth $445,000 in tax credits and grants if the manufacturer keeps 120 jobs and invests $3.5 million in a new facility in New York. Karp rejected that offer because greater incentives are offered to out-of-state companies than are offered to keep companies in the state. “[NYS] offered [Karp] the maximum funding they were eligible for under state law,” an official of the Empire State Development Corporation said.
Adam Gold, owner of Karp Associates, told the Daily News, “I wasn’t even offered the same incentives that a business from New Jersey would be offered to move to New York City. When you look at comparable offers from other areas, the city just doesn’t compete.”
In an October 21 statement, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio declared, “New York City cannot afford to lose more manufacturing jobs like the 115 at Karp Associates in Queens. A failure to keep these good jobs here would be inexcusable, all the more so because government action is responsible for Karp’s displacement.”
Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman said in the Oct. 21 Daily News report, “You never want to lose manufacturing jobs. [They] pay better.”
Karp is expected to make a decision by the end of the year.