• January 20, 2020
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Queens Chronicle

For Ozone Park, an industrial center

Old factory rebuilt for start-ups and light-manufacturing business

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2020 10:30 am | Updated: 11:35 am, Thu Jan 16, 2020.

Next to the unused rail line that runs along 100th Street in Ozone Park, the old factory that once housed a company that manufactured birthday candles is coming back to life.

Next Thursday, city officials will re-open the newly renovated building for small and medium-sized companies that have been hard pressed to stay in New York City for lack of affordable workspace.

The Ozone Park Industrial Center — funded in part by a $10 million grant from the city — has been in development for three years in an out-of-the way part of Ozone Park that once thrummed with manufacturing activity but is now home to several Islamic temples and Construction High School.

The project, using $43 million in private and public funds, is one of the most expensive in the neighborhood in recent memory.

A top-to-bottom renovation of the three-story, 113-year-old building will allow up to 24 companies to rent space there.

Property records show the factory was once home to a hat manufacturer and Worksman Cycles, which makes bikes and carts.

Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, the developer, said on its website that it expects to rent to custom woodworkers, cabinet makers, set builders and display makers, homes goods manufacturers, metal workers and clothing makers.

The first tenants signed so far include three woodworking firms and a maker of custom lighting and furniture for interior designers, said a spokeswoman for GMDC.

In all, the factory is expected to create about 100 jobs with above-market wages, officials said. The Ozone Park project was the first to be backed by the city’s Industrial Developer Fund, a program begun in 2016 with the intention of keeping manufacturing jobs in the city.

“As many local small businesses struggle with increasing rent and rezoning, affordable workspaces are becoming harder and harder to find,” said Judi Kende, vice president of Enterprise Community Partners, one of the partners in the project. “GMDC will provide those workspaces, while also boosting economic activity and creating jobs in Ozone Park.”

The partners on the project include Empire State Development, New York City Economic Development Corp., National Grid, Partnership Fund for New York City, J.P. Morgan Chase and Sterling National Bank.

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