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New York Agencies Make the Move to the Outer Boroughs

JULIAN ABRAHAM, HOST: New York City is relocating some of its agencies to outer boroughs in an effort to boost economies outside the city center. The program is called the CARE initiative… for City Agencies Revitalizing the Economy, and yesterday the city broke ground at Broadway Junction in East New York in Brooklyn on a new building to house the Department of Social Services Human Resources Administration, and over a thousand employees. The building will also include 80 thousand square feet of private commercial space.

Bill Wilkins is Director of Economic Development and Housing at the non-profit Local Development Corporation of East New York. He says he approves of the city plan to move some agencies out of high-rent districts.

BILL WILKINS: It only makes sense to move agencies to the outer boroughs and secure rents at much more reasonable rates which reduces the cost ultimately to taxpayers and the money can be used in better instances, so to me, it is a rational reasonable pragmatic approach to financial property management.

MARK GILCHRIST, BYLINE: Wouldn’t this make New York City more like Los Angeles and, you know, encourage some kind of sprawl if they are sending different agencies, you know, to different parts of the city, and making it more difficult for people to deal with the local government?

WILKINS: Well, I don’t think that is true because in this particular instance at Broadway Junction it is a transportation node. You have 5 train lines that converge into one destination and the building is half a block from this destination. So I think it makes individuals' commute easier. And in certain instances, it creates an urban transit reverse commute. Individuals instead of cramming into trains into Lower Manhattan or Downtown Brooklyn, they will be going in the opposite direction, and a lot of the workforce actually lives in the outer boroughs.

GILCHRIST: What about the private part of it; do you think initiatives like this, which are starting with the government as the core sort of tenant, are going to be able to attract the private sector to come in?

WILKINS: Of course they will, because you have an anchor tenant.

GILCHRIST: Are there any particular downsides to this kind of private-public initiative, as far as you can tell?

WILKINS: Well, the downside is that, um, people feel that, you know, when you engage in urban renewal, it means Black and Latino removal , but I see this as an opportunity to support and help maintain those businesses and residents that are indigenous to East New York and creating a benefit for them.


This has been Bill Wilkins, Director of Economic Development and Housing of the Local Development Corporation of East New York. Thank you.

WILKINS: Thank you, Mark.


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