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NEW YORK CITY-Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a mid-day Wednesday press conference at 160 Varick St. that creative steps spur innovation. Bloomberg, deputy mayor Robert Lieber and Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corp., were on the 12th floor of the Hudson Square building to announce the city’s first business incubator, the first step of an even greater effort to keep skilled labor in the city as the recession claims more jobs daily, most related to the financial sector.

The press conference announced 11 initiatives meant to support the city’s financial sector while positioning the city as a global center for business innovation and entrepreneurship. Although the financial sector only employs around 9% of the city’s workforce, the mayor noted that it accounts for around one third of the city’s private sector payroll.

The deal at 160 Varick involves a three-year lease between Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Trinity Real Estate, the real estate arm of the 300-year-old Trinity Church. The 12th floor space will be able to accommodate about 100 people. Beginning on March 1, start-up companies will be able to sublease space for $200 per person per month for up to six months, with an option to renew. Business services, like phone, copiers and faxes, will be provided, and there will be shared conference rooms and kitchen areas.

Also, the mayor’s company, Bloomberg LP, and Thomson Reuters will provide data feeds at no cost. University partners will provide mentoring services, business seminars as well as networking opportunities for tenants. “Our administration is excited to join Trinity and NYU for an exciting new venture,” Bloomberg said on Wednesday.

Already, the city has announced agreements for more incubators with what it says is a coalition of existing providers of incubator space. That includes an agreement with the Moinian Group for the second such incubator at 90 John St., which will open in April, providing space for another 100 people. Thus far, the city says it has plans with existing providers to accommodate 700 people at 40% below their standard rates.

Trinity Real Estate’s president, Carl Weisbrod, tells GlobeSt.com that Trinity provided the space at no rent except out-of-pocket expenses like electricity and cleaning. As for how the deal evolved, he says that as former president of the NYCEDC, he’s always in contact with city officials about economic initiatives.

During the press conference, the mayor pointed out that the current tidal wave of job losses impact “a wide range of professions and income levels; they don’t always apply to top levels.” Looking to the future, he said the Varick Street project’s mission was to help those individuals transition by providing tools, training and strengthening interconnectivity.

Still, of the recession’s current impact on New York, the mayor said, “Just think what would have happened if we had not spent the last seven years trying to diversify our economy outside of Manhattan and into other industries.” Saying that innovation is the key that will place both the individual and city in a more diverse position for future turnarounds, Bloomberg told the large mid-day crowd at 160 Varick that it’s new ideas that will keep the city competitive for decades to come.

“We are trying to create the kind of jobs here, that the people who live here can fill,” Bloomberg said. He added that the financial sector will come back, and when it does, cities around the globe will be competing to capture jobs it brings.

Weisbrod calls the deal “extremely aggressive” but notes that Trinity obviously has an interest here. “We hope some of these companies take off and grow and once they’re mature companies, they’ll want to remain in this neighborhood,” he tells GlobeSt.com. Trinity is among the largest owners of office space in the Hudson Square area.

Trinity Church, owner of Trinity Real Estate, has been in New York City since 1696 and has seen numerous downturns, wars, trauma and depressions. In this case, the church’s real estate company is looking to the future.

“Trinity is betting a lot on New York’s future,” says Weisbrod. “We feel optimistic about it; we are confident the city will come back.” Weisbrod adds that Trinity is focused primarily on fostering creative jobs. He tells GlobeSt.com that the incubator program is a very good strategy and that other owners will begin to feel similarly.

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