Long Island Index Releases Report that Offers Strategy for Ending Long Island’s Economic Stagnation


Contact: Lauren Hiznay Goodman
Media International


The Study Focuses on Strengthening the Biomedical Industry and Multifamily Housing and Offers Case Studies of the Route 110 Corridor and Village of Westbury; Interactive Maps Accompanying the Study Enable the Public to Explore Relevant Past Trends

Garden City, NY – February 10, 2015 – The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, today released a report that examines the impacts of Long Island-wide initiatives that could address some of the region’s most intractable economic issues. Titled “Long Island’s Future: Economic Implications of Today’s Choices”, the report was commissioned by the Long Island Index and conducted by HR&A Advisors, Inc., a leading economic development consulting firm that specializes in conducting economic and fiscal impact studies. Accompanying the report is a series of interactive maps, created by the CUNY Graduate Center’s Mapping Service, enabling the public to explore how individual communities and the region have changed over the past 40 years to create today’s economic and housing situation.The ultimate goal of this initiative is to understand how targeted actions could improve job creation, retain young workers, and solidify Long Island’s tax base for future generations.

The economic stagnation that Long Island must conquer includes the following, the report notes:

  • Long Island’s economy is projected to stagnate over the next 25 years. Overall jobs will grow at a lower rate than in the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Since the 1990s, the proportion of young workers on Long Island has fallen significantly. By 2010, 25-34-year-olds represented just 10.9% of the total population.
  • Long Island’s growth is stunted by three interacting and reinforcing factors: limited housing options; failure to replace defense and manufacturing industries with well-paying jobs; and, a high property tax burden and resulting loss in economic competitiveness.

The report clarifies that if the trends of the past 20 years continue into the future, Long Island will have greatly reduced potential. But the future could hold great promise, if it’s appropriately pursued, and investing in game-changing policy interventions can help re-orient Long Island toward sustainable prosperity. The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council is managing a multi-pronged strategy to enhance regional prosperity. This study builds upon its recommendations by quantifying what it would mean for the region if Long Island’s biomedical cluster and multifamily housing production expand.

Long Island’s biomedical industry is relatively small but growing and highly concentrated compared to the United States. It includes, among others, such powerhouse resources as Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and Stony Brook University.

Developing multifamily housing in downtowns would maintain the suburban character of Long Island by preserving existing neighborhoods, farmland, and open space. At the same time, increased development in town centers can add a significant jolt of housing supply, with more affordable and diverse options. A 2014 survey of Long Islanders by the Long Island Index revealed that a majority of Long Islanders support local, high-density, living opportunities in downtown areas. In 2010, the Long Island Index and the Regional Plan Association identified 8,300 acres within a half-mile of LIRR stations and downtowns available for infill development.

Pursuing simultaneously these two priorities – the biomedical industry and multifamily housing – could produce impressive results for Long Island. As compared to baseline trends, the report projects:

  • Between 44,500 and 73,000 new jobs by 2040;
  • Between 82,000 and 138,000 new residents by 2040;
  • Between 12,000 and 23,000 new residents age 25 to 34 by 2040;
  • Between $7.7 billion and $12.6 billion in new income in 2040;
  • Between $9.5 billion and $15.1 billion in new GRP (gross regional product) in 2040.

As part of the report, HR&A prepared two case studies to demonstrate how these strategies positively impact specific local communities. The case studies involve the Route 110 Corridor in Suffolk County and the Village of Westbury in Nassau County.

The Route 110 Corridor now has over 1 million square feet of vacant office space and 500,000 square feet of vacant industrial space. With this space availability and its proximity to major facilities, the Corridor is a logical physical location for Long Island’s biomedical cluster. By 2040, approximately 6,000 to 9,500 additional workers could be located along the Route 110 Corridor. Given the Corridor’s current proportion of square feet per worker, these new workers will require up to 1.55 million square feet of office space and up to 2.35 million square feet of industrial space.

The Village of Westbury could accommodate significant fiscal-positive development on two parcels adjacent to the LIRR station. In 2014, the Long Island Index released innovative designs for downtown parking structures in Long Island communities through its ParkingPLUS Design Challenge. Included was a proposal by LTL Architects, titled “Train Terraces”, to strengthen the connection between the LIRR station and downtown Westbury. HR&A conducted a high-level fiscal impact of the residential component of the proposal, which contemplated approximately 80 new housing units. The high-value development would generate substantial property tax revenue to the village, town, and county. New residents would also generate sales tax revenues to local governments through their retail spending. In total, the project would provide $810,000 in annual property tax, sales tax and other revenues to local governments – compared to an annual cost to those governments of $530,000 – for a net annual fiscal benefit of $280,000.3

In conjunction with the HR&A study, the Long Island Index also commissioned the creation of interactive maps that enable the public to explore the changes that Long Island’s economy, population, housing and more have undergone in the past 40 years. The interactive maps have been created by the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

“These maps enable Long Islanders to explore the changes that have taken place in their communities over the past 40 years and to appreciate more fully why it is imperative to consider new opportunities for future growth,” said Steven Romalewski, Director of the Graduate Center’s Mapping Service. “Engaging Long Islanders in understanding what the past means for future growth is crucial to building consensus around Long Island’s economic future.” “Long Island has extraordinary potential for economic growth, but it will require concerted effort around a specific strategy,” said Shuprotim Bhaumik, Partner at HR&A Advisors. “This study is designed to highlight such a strategy, generate public discussion of it, and move Long Island toward a consensus on which it can build a dynamic future.”

“Long Island has enviable resources on which to build – from world-renowned research institutions to our much-admired quality of life and our proximity to New York City,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation and Publisher of the Long Island Index. “Now is the time to engage the public in a strategy to ensure job growth for our region. This initiative points the way, revealing a path now illuminated for us to explore and follow.”

The report and interactive maps are available at www.longislandindex.org. For further information, contact Lauren Hiznay at Goodman Media: lhiznay@goodmanmedia.com.

About the Long Island Index

Now in its 12th year, the Long Island Index is a source of unbiased reliable data for businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, educators, and townships throughout the region. Funded by the Rauch Foundation, its overarching goals are to measure where we are and show trends over time, encourage regional thinking, compare Long Island’s situation with those in similar regions, increase awareness of issues and their interrelatedness, and inspire Long Islanders to work together to achieve shared goals. The Long Island Index is available for download at www.longislandindex.org; its interactive maps – an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information – as well as the Build a Better Burb website are also accessible from the Index’s website.

About the Rauch Foundation

The Rauch Foundation (www.rauchfoundation.org) is a Long Island-based family foundation that invests in ideas and organizations that spark and sustain early success in children and systemic change in our communities. The Foundation was established in 1961 by Louis Rauch and Philip Rauch, Jr. Funding for the Foundation was made possible by the success of the Ideal Corporation, an auto parts manufacturer founded in 1913 by their father, Philip Rauch, Sr.

In addition to funding the Long Island Index, the Rauch Foundation commissioned The Long Island Profile Report and a series of polls on Long Island to determine how the region is faring. The Long Island Index reports are available for download at www.longislandindex.org.