The Proposed 77-Acre Biotech Park Should Be Enhanced To Maximize The Potential Of This Rare Economic Development Opportunity For Nassau County And The Region
Garden City, NY – August 15, 2017 – The Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, today released a study of the proposed Nassau Hub Biotech Park that finds that the proposed Park should be enhanced to maximize the potential of this rare economic development opportunity for Nassau County and Long Island. The study – titled “Nassau Hub Innovation District: Transforming the Nassau Hub Biotech Park into a Competitive, 21st Century Innovation District” – is co-authored by HR&A Advisors, Sam Schwartz Engineering, and Regional Plan Association.
The site of the proposed Park is a 77-acre parcel of prime property, best known as the home of the Nassau Coliseum, located about 20 miles east of New York City and controlled by the County and the Town of Hempstead. The opportunity is unusual because of the size of the parcel, its proximity to New York City, and the fact that it is controlled by the County and Town. That makes it especially important to design it correctly.
The proposed Park is meant to attract well-paying “knowledge industry” jobs, grow the biotech and high-tech industries, and redevelop an underutilized site. But the Park is too much like a traditional 9-to-5 office park rather than the 24-hour work-live-learn-play districts that are attracting younger educated workers nationwide, especially in the tech sector.
The proposed Park seeks to leverage the presence of the County’s academic, medical, and research institutions, but it lacks the key components to transform the site into a truly competitive, 21st-century, innovation district. Without mixed-use development and amenities, walkable streets, and robust transit service, the proposed Park mirrors the outdated mix of uses and density of Long Island’s 20th-century office parks. Without those attributes, it will be insufficient to foster the growth of the biotech sector and generate the workers, residents, and visitors that Long Island needs.
Innovation districts across the country are competing to attract research institutions and companies (as well as their private capital and public research grants) recognizing that workers at these firms desire vibrant neighborhoods to live, work, and play. The study, therefore, includes analyses of innovation districts in St. Louis, Kitchener-Waterloo (Ontario), Seattle, Berkeley-Emeryville, Houston, and Cambridge, MA, while examining other innovation districts as well.
The study calls for the conversion of the proposed Park into such a district. The “Nassau Hub Innovation District” would have double the density and a critical mass of multifamily housing units, flexible R&D space, and greater access to public transit through a new Bus Rapid Transit service, called the Hubway. That service would connect the Coliseum site to the Mineola LIRR Station by transforming unused LIRR rights-of-way along the Garden City Spur into a dedicated busway – and possible bike lane as well.
The Nassau Hub Innovation District would increase the Biotech Park’s proposed 3.5 million square feet of development to 7.1 million, including 2.2 million square feet of new multifamily housing and an additional 3.4 million square feet of office, flex, and R&D space. It would create 14,300 high-quality jobs in Nassau County (an increase of 9,100 jobs over the existing plan) and generate more than $3.4 billion in economic activity statewide (an increase of $2.4 billion). It would add $30 million in sales tax revenue to the County (an increase of $21 million) and $47 million in property tax revenue for Nassau County, Hempstead, and Uniondale schools (an increase of $29 million). It would also serve as a catalyst for additional development in the area.
“Long Island can once again be a leading center of high-tech innovation, as it was during the mid-20th century,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation. “The County has taken an important first step by proposing the Nassau Hub Biotech Park. Now it’s time to take a second step and transform the proposed Park into an Innovation District that can become a major catalyst for an economic future of prosperity for Long Island.”
“Long Island should seize this rare opportunity to create an Innovation District that can transform the regional economy,” said Shuprotim Bhaumik, Partner at HR&A Advisors. “Opportunities like this do not come often, and it should not be lost to yet another office park.”