By Bill Parry
The unprecedented growth of Long Island City could include a multimillion-dollar life-sciences campus and the neighborhood’s development organization is aiming to make that happen.
The Long Island City Partnership issued a formal request for ideas earlier this month seeking consultants to produce a strategic plan for developing a feasibility study that would help lure New York’s Life Sciences Cluster to the fastest-growing neighborhood in the nation.
“We want people to have the best information about why Long Island City is the best place to invest in creating a life-sciences cluster in New York,” LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “The more information and strategy we can offer potential investors the better. It’s an enormous sector of the economy and we think it definitely belongs here in Long Island City, which is fertile ground for such a cluster.”
When the city’s Economic Development Corporation issued a Request for Expressions of Interest for creating an applied life sciences hub last month, Long Island City was specifically referenced as a possible location. The neighborhood’s extensive residential development, planned office development and its nexus with a home-grown tech industry make it the perfect candidate for the hub, which Mayor Bill de Blasio said would spur an estimated 16,000 new, good-paying jobs.
The life sciences and biotechnology industry includes a wide array of disciplines focused on developing cures, treatments and technologies. Its companies work to develop new vaccines and pharmaceuticals, build advanced prosthetic devices, and design software that make diagnostics more accurate and with a 16 percent growth in jobs since 2009, the life sciences sector is among the fastest growing in the city
“We offer a strong labor pool and we have LaGuardia Community College as a partner for training people for many levels of jobs such as lab techs, accounting departments, maintenance staff and payroll and other support services,” Lusskin said. “Plus, with the expansion of NYC Ferry and the opening of the 2nd Avenue subway, LIC offers true accessibility to the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island and 1st Avenue and York Avenue, where the majority of the city’s premier academic medical institutions are located.”
In addition, the city has the world’s largest concentration of academic institutions with nine major academic medical centers, including Weill Cornell Medical College and The Rockfeller University located on the Upper East Side.
When the EDC released its Request for Expression of Interest last month, a large city-owned building at 44-36 44th Drive was listed as a possible location for the hub, but Lusskin is looking at the bigger picture.
“The city said that site might be made available for use, but LIC has so much going for it it’s not the only place in Long Island City where you could do something great in,” she said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr