For decades, the Strategic Investments Group (SIG) has overseen the financial side of NYCEDC’s development transactions and initiatives, and the group’s role has constantly evolved to respond to NYC’s ever-changing needs.
If the history of NYCEDC has taught us anything, it’s be prepared for anything, and be ready to adapt to change. As Former Mayor Ed Koch proclaimed, “New York City is where the future comes to rehearse; where the best come to get better.”
A Legacy of Adaptation
In 1966, the Public Development Corporation, a parent agency of NYCEDC, was born out of a need to revitalize NYC’s struggling economy. Those struggles continued into 1978 when the housing crisis hit and the city was losing 45,000 units of housing a year to fires, demolition, and abandonment. Mayor Koch responded with a plan to rehab 100,000 units of housing for working families and then expanded his plan to 250,000 units to allow for future growth. SIG played its part in this era of recovery, offering tax incentives and bonds through the New York City Industrial Development Agency.
Today, Mayor de Blasio’s current plan to build or preserve 100,000 units of affordable housing in the next decade continues this legacy—to ensure our city can be a home to this generation of working families—and NYCEDC and SIG are helping this come to life. With The Peninsula, we’re transforming the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center into a true community asset for the South Bronx, bringing 740 permanently affordable housing units, new open space, and industrial jobs to the area. SIG was proud to support this transformative project by structuring a $3 million mezzanine loan, which was critical to complete the financing package for the initial phase of the project.
Investing Across Industries
In 2007, New Yorkers and the nation faced another bump in the road: The financial crisis hit, unemployment spiked to 10 percent, and recession took hold of the city and the nation.
NYCEDC responded by investing in sectors beyond Wall Street including tech, life sciences, healthcare, and manufacturing to help diversify our economy to prepare for any future downturns. And SIG’s approach began to expand in turn, employing a range of incentives, funds, and advisory services across industries of growth and investment for the City. One example is Cyber NYC—a $100 million suite of public-private investments to grow NYC’s cybersecurity workforce and make NYC a global leader in cyber innovation. Through this initiative, the City is investing $30 million to seed ideas, launch accelerators, attract companies, and train talent. This will be matched with up to $70 million from the private sector and will create at least 10,000 new cyber jobs over the next decade. SIG was able to help execute a series of these investments by negotiating agreements that would lead to positive outcomes for NYCEDC, both socially and financially, as our CyberNYC partners succeed. These arrangements were a first of their kind for NYCEDC.
Inclusive Economic Growth
Part of NYCEDC’s mission is to invest so that economic growth is attainable for everyone, and the organization works hard to make New York City the gold standard in this respect. SIG is part of this effort and, through WE Venture, is collaborating with women.nyc to invest in women and minority-founded tech companies. WE Venture invests impact-oriented venture capital into early-stage, NYC-based technology startups founded by persons from underrepresented groups. WE Venture secured its first investment in December 2019 in Cosynd, a woman-founded company that has designed a platform to automate copyright contracts and registrations for independent creators and businesses.
Guiding NYC’s Future
As a result of these decades of a forward-thinking mentality, NYC is now experiencing unprecedented prosperity:
- Unemployment at 4%
- Home to 4.5 million jobs
- More Fortune 500 companies than any other city in North America
SIG’s customized investment approach is informed by deep expertise in finance, investing, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to social and environmental justice. SIG will continue to foresee and respond to the needs of an ever-evolving city and, in doing so, guide the future of NYC.
Eric Clement is Managing Director of NYCEDC’s Strategic Investments Group. Learn more at edc.nyc/SIG.