Mayor Bloomberg Breaks Ground for Brass Masters Manufacturing Facility in East New York, Brooklyn
One of City’s Newly Designated Industrial Business Zones and its Tax Credits Spur Creation of New 33,000-square-foot Facility That Will Expand Successful Manufacturing Business.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Brass Masters owner Gittu Modi broke ground today for a new 33,000 square-foot facility on a formerly City-owned site in East New York, Brooklyn within the proposed boundaries of one of the City’s newly designated Industrial Business Zones (IBZ). Brass Masters imports, finishes and distributes hardware, furniture and architectural products. It is one of the first companies to benefit from new tax incentives created by the Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses (IMB). The incentives, which provide up to $1,000 per employee for companies that relocate to one of the City’s 16 IBZ’s, are the cornerstone of the City’s effort to retain and grow industrial and manufacturing jobs. The new facility will allow Brass Masters to expand its capabilities, create more than 60 construction jobs and 45 new permanent jobs. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $2.7 million.
Councilman Erik Martin Dilan, Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Andrew Alper, Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert Walsh, Mayor’s Office of Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses (IMB) Director Carl Hum, Local Development Corporation of East New York President Sherry Roberts, and Yogesh and Durga Modi, brothers of Mr. Modi who run the foundry in India, all attended the ceremony.
“Brass Masters’ relocation to East New York is a welcomed expansion of New York City’s industrial base and the latest evidence of our Administration’s focus on strengthening the City’s industrial core,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The new facility will help a well-respected manufacturer to add valuable jobs and diversify its business. The manufacturing and industrial sector in New York City remains a critical part of our economy, accounting for more than 500,000 jobs, representing about 15 percent of the City’s workforce. We are firmly committed to helping New York City’s industrial businesses grow and create jobs.”
“Our sincere thanks to the City, NYCEDC and the Local Development Corporation of East New York,” said Gittu Modi. “Without their help, this project would not have come to fruition. This new facility will help us not only expand our capabilities, but will also reduce lead-time, inventory levels and manufacturing costs, making us more competitive in the marketplace. We look forward to seeing all of you and Mayor Bloomberg at the ribbon-cutting ceremony later this year.”
Gittu Modi founded Brass Masters in 1998 and currently has four employees. The company imports sand castings, forgings and stampings from India for distribution across the U.S. to specialty hardware stores, architects and interior designers. Products include decorative hardware, furniture such as bar and tea carts, coffee tables and etageres, in a variety of finishes. At the company’s present location in Queens, Brass Masters also designs and fabricates custom-designed prototypes for individual customers which are then sent to the foundry in India for production.
The new facility will allow Brass Masters to produce many of these items in-house, increasing capacity and lowering costs. The company recently acquired a tubing business that will further expand its customer base to include manufacturers of carousels, kaleidoscopes and lighting systems. Brass Masters was selected to develop the site as a result of a Request for Proposals issued by NYCEDC, and is currently in negotiations with NYCEDC for another 11,000-square-foot parcel in East New York to allow for further expansion. The new facility will incorporate a cogeneration system to produce most of its electrical requirements on-site with no strain on the electric system and that will reduce air pollution. The cogeneration system will also enhance Brass Masters position in the marketplace by reducing the company’s exposure to electric outages and cost increases. The facility is scheduled for completion in late 2006.
The new facility is located in the proposed East New York Industrial Business Zone. The 100-acre zone is home to 43 industrial and manufacturing businesses that employ more than 1,000 industrial and manufacturing jobs. Key industrial subsectors represented include steel and metal fabrication, transportation, warehouse/distribution and vinyl manufacturing.
“Making the City a viable place for industrial and manufacturing stalwarts is a crucial part of diversifying our economy and supporting other industries,” said IMB Director Hum. “Brass Masters is a great example of a company whose product is part of the supply chain of other industries such as housing, construction and home improvement. By creating conditions that allow the manufacturing and industrial sector to grow, we create an economic stimulus for other sectors as well.”
In January 2005, Mayor Bloomberg created IMB to implement the City’s first comprehensive industrial policy in more than two decades as part of the Administration’s five- borough economic development strategy. Since then, IMB has successfully proposed new State legislation that passed, and which called for the establishment of Industrial Business Zones (IBZ) in 16 neighborhoods throughout the City: Bathgate, Brooklyn Navy Yard, East New York, Eastchester, Flatlands, Greenpoint-Williamsburg, Hunts Point, Jamaica, JFK Industrial Corridor, Long Island City, North Brooklyn, Port Morris, Southwest Brooklyn, Steinway, Maspeth and Zerega. The legislation provides for a one-time tax credit for industrial companies relocating within New York City or from outside the State to one of the IBZ’s. This credit will help cover eligible relocation expenses up to a maximum of $1,000 for each industrial job relocated. To date, the IBZ Boundary Commission has drawn and proposed preliminary boundaries for the 16 IBZ’s (available at www.nyc.gov/imb) and completed a public review process. In April, the IBZ Commission will reconvene to ratify the final boundaries.
Additionally, IMB proposed a second piece of legislation, known as the “CEP Enhancement Bill,” which passed and which broadens the scope of the Commercial Expansion Program (CEP). CEP provides real estate tax abatements to tenants who make improvements to their leased spaces, and the new law extends its benefit to manufacturing and industrial businesses, 60% of which lease their properties. Previously, CEP requirements for minimum building size or age have disqualified a majority of industrial tenants, many of whom occupy less than 10,000 square feet of space. The new bill allows any industrial or manufacturing tenant, regardless of building size or age, to take advantage of the program.