Meatpacking BID is cooking

A map showing the proposed boundaries of the Meatpacking Area Business Improvement District and some of the notable businesses, institutions and attractions in the district.

A map showing the proposed boundaries of the Meatpacking Area Business Improvement District and some of the notable businesses, institutions and attractions in the district.

 

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  An effort to form a business improvement district in the Meatpacking District failed to gather sufficient support from local property owners a few years ago. It was said, at that time, that it was too early for a BID for the burgeoning new entertainment zone, but that another try would be made later.

That time has come, as a new push is on to form a BID including the Meatpacking District, plus a few blocks of southern Chelsea.

In recent years, the Meatpacking District Improvement Association has done a few of the things a BID would do, but it isn’t funded by a special tax assessment on property owners like a city-approved BID.

According to a statement on M.P.I.A.’s Web site, “various stakeholders” in the proposed district are behind the initiative.

The proposed boundaries are Horatio St., Eighth Ave., 17th St. and the West Side Highway / 11th Ave. Notable presences in the district include Google, Chelsea Market, the High Line and, slated to open in 2015, the Whitney Museum.

“Already a high-profile commercial, entertainment and retail corridor, the Meatpacking District is a world-class destination,” says the statement on M.P.I.A.’s site. “In coming years, the addition of a number of new commercial developments will result in increased levels of visitation and traffic. With such growth will come increased and evolving needs for area services. To respond to those needs, the neighborhood will require an organization with the district’s quality of life as its primary focus, and with the resources to be proactive in addressing the needs of the community.”

Currently, the Chelsea part of the proposed district is served by the Chelsea Improvement Company. The BID would establish “a unified district under a single identity and mission,” the statement says.

BIDs supplement city services by typically providing sanitation, maintenance, landscaping, public safety, marketing, capital improvements, programming for public spaces and community-based events.

The BID, the statement adds, would host an annual meeting at which constituents would have “a place to voice concerns, celebrate successes, provide input and vote on leadership of the BID. Leadership of the BID would include representation from the residential and business communities, along with community boards and the city. … A BID would leverage the collective weight of property owners, merchants, residents and local elected officials to advocate for public funds for area-specific capital improvements.”

However, at the Dec. 19 Community Board 2 meeting, Elaine Young, a member who lives south of the Meat Market, expressed concern that residents’ concerns won’t be sufficiently accounted for.

“There’s not a single local resident on this BID,” she said. “The southern boundary leaves out a huge swath of residents. We will be affected by this BID’s decisions. We do deserve a seat at the table.”

Young offered a resolution calling for four residents from an expanded district to be appointed to the BID’s board, with two from the C.B. 2 area (south of 14th St.) and two from C.B. 4. But David Gruber, C.B. 2 chairperson, opposed that sort of geographic specification. Gruber and the C.B. 4 chairperson are on the BID’s steering committee.

“It’s challenging for them, because they can’t tax residential areas,” Gruber noted of BID rules. “This is going to be a very important BID for us,” he predicted of the BID’s neighborhood role.

The board approved Young’s resolution.

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2 Responses to Meatpacking BID is cooking

  1. David Gruber misstates BID rules as they can tax residential properties, but at normally at a lower rate than commercial properties.

  2. Patrick Shields

    Why do Community Boards 2 and 4 not create Business Improvement Committees, rather than the ongoing push
    for new BID's? And why are Board chairs allowed to be on BID steering committees within their districts?

    With BID's having the legislative power to tax, so be it, if voters approve, but why must communities constantly have to deal with the hypocrisy of business groups complaining about New York State and City taxes being punitive when they are perfectly willing to create a new entity with local taxation powers.

    Multiple CB/BID committees, if necessary, for various business districts within the board boundaries. Ultimately, a new BID, like conservancies and trusts, will in many ways, end up being in opposition to the CB's, even
    confrontational. They will be separated economically, politically, and socially, rather than have true common cause with the communities in which they reside.

    What's the point of allowing this separation, reflective of the "two cities" approach, to continue?

    Easier to police the BID's and their efforts if they are one of us. Particularly if they are using leverage and influence to seek other desperately needed public funds on top of new residential and commercial taxing powers.

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