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NEW YORK CITY-Filling office space is a complicated issue, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has taken steps to do just that over the last 21 months. It has not always been an easy task since today the city is not only competing with other US cities for businesses, but the international community as well.

Speaking at the Banc of America Securities NYC Office Conference yesterday, Daniel Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, outlined six approaches the city is using to retain and attract business to the local office market. First, he said, it is critical to look at businesses like “value-added, job-creating, tax-paying clients.” To this end, the Economic Development Corp. has been reorganized as a one-stop shop for all government/business transactions. And it helps to go the extra mile. For example, during the blackout on Aug. 14, the city called 500 of the largest companies in the city and asked if they needed anything, Doctoroff pointed out.

In its mission, the city is also recognizing its strengths and weaknesses. “You have to be brutally honest about what you are good at and what you are not good at,” he said. The city lacks an abundance of land so it would not be feasible to try to attract manufacturing companies which would need to build plants. On the other hand, he added, the city is targeting industries that depend heavily on intellectual capital such as the life sciences, professional services, media and entertainment and–of course–financial services.

“We will take every financial services job we can get. It is in our nature; it goes back 200 years,” Doctoroff said. “Inevitably it [collapses] like it did but I don’t think New Yorkers would have it any other way.”

Aside from the finance sector, the city is also seeing growth in the media and entertainment arena with the development of four new company headquarters currently under way: Bloomberg Media, the New York Times, Time Warner and Hearst. And a fifth one may be in store for the near future, he added.

In its quest to retain and attract businesses, the city also needs to aggressively market itself. “We have to sell New York City and try to create the impression–and we think it is a reality–that New York City is an exciting place to live and work,” Doctoroff explained. To help with this, the city established the office of chief marketing officer, he added.

One major change in the city’s strategy to retain and attract businesses is its decision not to pay companies to stay; although it does offer as-of-right incentives and discretionary incentives, he said. “We don’t pay any companies to stay in New York City anymore,” he said, with the very rare exception. “We haven’t lost any company or a significant portion of a company since we made this announcement.”

The city is also taking steps to improve the schools and neighborhoods to focus on quality of life and is finding ways to offer more choices to companies, such as rezoning areas in other boroughs including Long Island City in Queens and the Brooklyn waterfront, he said.

In the end there is one thing people should know about the city, according to Doctoroff. “What you see when you study New York City history–it always comes back stronger.”

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