NEW YORK CITY-A series of incentives just signed into law to attract new business and encourage existing businesses to Lower Manhattan have prompted at least one firm to move its base of operations from Midtown. Integrated technology communications firm the Horn Group inked a deal for more than 10,000 sf at 55 Broad St. The firm intends for triple its number of employees over the next few years.

The Alliance for Downtown New York has launched a technical assistance program for those businesses requiring additional information about the incentives. The Downtown Alliance has also partnered with the Real Estate Board of New York and the Association for a Better New York to produce and distribute a guide that outlines the various incentive programs including the commercial rent tax abatements, sales tax exemptions, World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Incentives, and an expansion of the Lower Manhattan Relocation Employment Assistance Program.

Under the new law, the Commercial Rent Tax Exemption permanently eliminates the tax for all tenants at the World Trade Center site, the tax for all retail tenants in the area south of Murray Street and provides a five-year tax exemption for commercial companies in buildings elsewhere south of Canal Street. The Exemption from Sales and Use Taxes provides sales-tax exemptions for office furniture, equipment and build-out costs for businesses that will be leasing space at the World Trade Center site and at 7 World Trade Center. It also provides sales-tax exemption for site build-out costs to businesses in the area south of Murray Street as well as exemption for purchases of goods or services from beginning of lease through first year of lease.

The World Trade Center and 7 World Trade Incentives provide a $5-per-sf incentive and a $3.80-per-sf incentive for the first 750,000 sf of commercial space leased at the World Trade Center site and at 7 World Trade Center, respectively. The Lower Manhattan Relocation Employment Assistance Program amends the program so that businesses with operations in Manhattan that relocate employees from locations outside of New York City to Lower Manhattan–south of Houston Street–will now be eligible for the 12-year $3,000-per-employee tax credit for those relocated employees. Also, tax incentives for converting commercial buildings for residential or mixed use expire June 30, 2006, one year earlier than originally scheduled. “We are taking downtown’s revival to the next level with a new incentives package that will ensure that businesses at the World Trade Center site and in the surrounding area continue to grow briskly,” says Mayor Michael Bloomberg.”

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