By Alexander Dworkowitz
A $25 million, high-tech facility for the printing industry is on the verge of coming to College Point and expected to generate about 650 jobs.
Hudson Development, a development group, has been selected to build the Graphic Communications Center, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D-Astoria) said last week.
Hudson plans to construct a 400,000-square-foot facility on a seven-acre site located within the College Point Corporate Park at College Point Boulevard and 31st Avenue.
“The designation is an important step toward ensuring the future of the printing and graphics arts industry in New York City,” said Giuliani. “By creating a state-of-the-art facility for printers, graphic artists, binders and related companies in Queens, we are providing a viable option for companies that may be forced to relocate from Manhattan in the next few years.”
According to Janel Patterson, a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Corporation, which manages the corporate park, plans for a printing facility had been in the works well before Sept. 11. But she said the terrorist attacks, which caused the loss of thousands of jobs in Lower Manhattan, have reaffirmed the need to strengthen the printing industry.
Much of the city’s printing industry is based in Lower Manhattan and some firms have moved to western Queens in the past year to escape rapidly rising rents.
Patterson said a lot of printers, particularly in the 14th Street area, have been affected by higher rents.
Hudson and the city are currently in negotiations over how much Hudson will pay the city to develop the property. Hudson has developed the Monarch Industrial Park and Supreme Industrial Park, facilities of similar size to the Graphic Communications Center, in Sunset Park in Brooklyn.
Hudson estimated that the facility will bring 650 new jobs to Queens.
Fred Mazzarello, president of the College Point Board of Trade, said he thought the jobs would initially come from within whatever companies choose to occupy the space. But he added that some of those jobs would be filled by residents of College Point.
“Eventually something has to funnel off,” he said. “I know the printing industry is trying to get back in New York. Hopefully, we’ll get some benefits from it.”
Hudson expects to begin construction in the summer of 2002 and complete the project in the spring of 2003. The development will include private, off-street parking, loading facilities and a landscaped entrance plaza.
If completed as planned, the facility would join the 550-acre corporate park, which already is the home to more than 175 companies and approximately 5,500 employees.
Several printing facilities currently are located in the park. The New York Times employs 500 workers at its printing and distribution facility, and the World Journal, the most widely read Chinese-language newspaper in North America, also is located in the park.
According to the mayor’s office, several premier printing firms have expressed interest in the facility.
Vallone discussed the importance of the printing industry to the city.
“New York City owes much of its success to the graphics and arts industry, and we cannot let this invaluable sector leave our city,” said Vallone. “Now more than ever it is vital that we support development in the outer boroughs, particularly since many companies are now looking for new, permanent sites for their business.”
Reach Reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300 Ext. 141.