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New York Works: NYCEDC Launches Global Challenge to Create New Applied Life Sciences Hub


Key part of Mayor’s LifeSci NYC plan for 16,000 jobs

City is committing up to $100M in capital, identifying potential sites in East Harlem, Long Island City, and Kips Bay

New York, NY -- New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today launched a global challenge to create a world-class hub for life sciences research and development.  The “Applied Life Sciences Hub” will be a center of gravity for the city’s rapidly growing life sciences industry, offering a dynamic, collaborative environment for founders, inventors, and entrepreneurs.

NYCEDC is formally requesting proposals for the Hub, seeking a mission-driven organization or joint venture to lead, develop and anchor this important project. The de Blasio administration is challenging life sciences organizations worldwide to propose a creative long-term commitment to the applied life sciences in New York City, building on the city’s history of leadership in biomedical research.

In December 2016, Mayor de Blasio announced LifeSci NYC, a 10-year $500M commitment to establish New York City as a global leader in life sciences R&D and innovation, spurring an estimated 16,000 jobs and addressing the need for up to 3 million square feet of new space for life sciences companies and researchers. The Applied Life Sciences Hub is the signature initiative for LifeSci NYC, and a key component of Mayor de Blasio’s New York Works plan to create 100,000 quality jobs over the next decade.

“The Applied Life Sciences Hub has the potential to vault New York City into the forefront of this growing industry. We are excited to begin this partnership with researchers, innovators and institutions so we can spur the breakthroughs and jobs that will help define our city for decades to come,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen.

“The Applied Life Sciences Hub will help make New York City a true global leader in life sciences and the good, accessible jobs being created in this growing sector,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “We envision this hub as a ‘Bell Labs for Biotech’, a place where the best and brightest spin out new discoveries that turn into new cures and new businesses.”

The City of New York is offering up to $100 million in capital funding to seed a transformative project, expecting to leverage significant private and philanthropic investment. The City has also identified three City-owned sites for potential activation:

  • 2469 Second Ave in East Harlem
  • 455 First Avenue in Kips Bay
  • 44-36 44 Drive in Long Island City

Respondents may propose a new ground-up development or a retrofit of an existing building, and may be located on a City-owned or privately-owned site. Respondents are strongly encouraged to form joint ventures and to propose privately-owned properties for the City’s consideration.

Top life sciences ecosystems across the country have established clusters around leading non-profit and commercial R&D organizations. These highly-networked innovation districts enable scientists, engineers, investors, and executives to forge partnerships, cultivate talent, and advance breakthrough life sciences technologies, while offering space for the expansion of high-growth companies. Through LifeSci NYC and the Applied Life Sciences Hub, the City is committing significant resources to creating such a high-density geographic location in New York. 

NYCEDC is seeking proposals built on the following components:

1. A Large-scale R&D organization committed to leading R&D operations in the applied life sciences on the premises of the Hub

2. Expansion space for growth-stage life sciences companies: ready-to-occupy customizable wet lab and associated office space conducive to the expansion of industry-leading companies

3. Collaboration space and programming: investments in human capital designed to foster collaboration and a sense of community within the Hub and the broader life sciences ecosystem

Download the RFEI here.

Read Mayor de Blasio's letter to respondents here.

"Continued investment in the life sciences is a priority as we continue to grow high-tech, high-skills jobs and industries," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "This hub will advance our commitment as a city to invest in tomorrow's scientists and innovators."

“The life science sector provides incredible potential for job creation and New York City must make every effort to stay on top of this rapidly growing field,” said Council Member Paul Vallone, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development. “As we look for effective means to drive economic growth in our city, initiatives like this are most promising and exciting because they take advantage of our city’s unique qualities. Having the largest concentration of academic medical centers in the country, combined with thousands of graduate and post-graduate students, New York City is poised for a bright and successful future in life science research and development.”

"I support the city's goal to create 16,000 quality jobs with this project,” said Council Member Keith Powers. “The Kips Bay location is an opportunity to build a unit of interconnected research and medical facilities in a practical area. I look forward to reviewing the final proposals."

“For New York City to compete as a global center in applied as well as academic life sciences, we need a true center of gravity that brings together top talent, investment and space for rapid growth,” said Dr. Harold Varmus, co-Chair of the Mayor’s Life Sciences Advisory Council. “The Applied Life Sciences Hub is a fundamental feature of our efforts to grow this important sector in our region.”

“The launch of this initiative is another important component of Mayor DeBlasio’s commitment to accelerate the development of biotechnology in New York City.  Correctly conceived and executed, this center can be a critical part of enhancing the space and talent and vision needed to highlight the many resources New York has to offer.  It will be a visible and actionable reflection of what the city sees as an important sector for growth” said Vicki Sato, co-Chair of the Mayor’s Life Sciences Advisory Council.  

New York City is well-positioned to become a global destination for research and development, with the largest concentration of academic medical centers in the country and approximately $1.6 billion in annual National Institutes of Health funding. The City is also home to more than 7,000 university graduate students and post-doctoral researchers prepared to lead the next generation of life sciences research.

With 16 percent growth in jobs since 2009, the life sciences sector is among the fastest growing in the city with a wide range of technical jobs such as microbiologists and lab technicians, and non-technical jobs in areas like marketing and administration. Roughly 30 percent of jobs in the industry require only a high-school diploma or Associate’s Degree, while another 50 percent of jobs require only a Bachelor’s Degree.

NYCEDC has made significant efforts to catalyze the growth of New York City’s life sciences industry by creating a discretionary tax abatement incentive program and modernizing the City’s land use policy to facilitate life sciences real estate development.  As part of LifeSci NYC, the City has also appointed a Life Sciences Advisory Council to guide its efforts, awarded a $5 million grant to fund approximately 50,000 square feet of new incubator lab space, and launched an innovative internship program to train the next generation of life sciences talent. More information can be found here. 

About NYCEDC

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

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Contact Info

Anthony Hogrebe/Shavone Williams (NYCEDC) 212-312-3523 / [email protected]