Anable Basin proposal aims to create affordable manufacturing space for businesses

Rendering of plans for Anable Basin.

TF Cornerstone, in partnership with Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) and C4Q, plans to create 100,000 square feet of new, affordable manufacturing space in Anable Basin to accommodate the ever-present need that Long Island City businesses have — and remedy problems faced by businesses that have left the neighborhood.

In April 2018, the LIC Partnership released a snapshot of the neighborhood, which showed that 39 percent of newly opened businesses in the neighborhood were in the manufacturing space. New businesses in the area take up about 126,000 square feet, according to the LIC Neighborhood Snapshot.

Hundreds of years ago, Long Island City became a manufacturing hub in New York City. Fast forward to 2018, and demands for business space in the neighborhood have not gone away.

In the past, displaced businesses in Long Island City have had trouble reestablishing themselves in the neighborhood due to lack of space and increasing rent prices. As a result, businesses have had to move their operations elsewhere, including Long Island, New Jersey and Brooklyn.

Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC), a nonprofit, is one of the partners in the Anable Basin proposal. Brian Coleman, the chief executive officer of GMDC, oversees the nonprofit that owns and operates the manufacturing space at 1205 Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint where some displaced LIC businesses now operate. Coleman estimated that 40 to 50 percent of the businesses in his Brooklyn factory have been displaced from Long Island City in recent years.

Two such businesses are LF Upholstery and MHG Studio. Both of these businesses were previously located in LIC and moved when their landlords sold the buildings where they were located.

LF Upholstery, which specializes in custom upholstery for designers and architects, has been in business for nearly 30 years. According to Carmen Soto, the showroom manager at the company, they were located in a building on 23rd Avenue in Long Island City. She said that when the owners sold the building where they operated, the rent prices of the new spaces they were looking at were “not conducive” to their business.

MHG Studio has been run by married couple Michele H. Glick-Guarneri and Victor Guarneri for nearly 20 years. According to their website, they are a full-service leather crafts shop specializing in architectural leatherwork, restoration, custom leatherwork and original furniture design.

Before moving to Greenpoint, the couple said their business was on 35th Avenue. They echoed the sentiments of LF Upholstery saying that business owners in LIC wanted to charge them “$32 per square foot” for manufacturing space.

In addition to the new manufacturing space, according to their rezoning proposal, TF Cornerstone’s plan includes a proposed school site, art institutions, mixed-income housing and waterfront access, which has not been available to the public since the 19th century.

Correction made at 9:50 a.m. The Anable Basin proposal is being led by TF Cornerstone, not Plaxall as previously stated.

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