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Downtown study: older buildings ideal for small firms.

A study of Lower Manhattan released last week knocks the idea of converting outdated Downtown office buildings into residential space, which many industry members believe is the only hope for these properties.

The area where most of Lower Manhattan's older office properties lie, says the study, is vow of services and retail outlets required by residents. In addition, while there may be some niche opportunities -- corporate suites or in-town apartments, according to the study, these housing types cannot satisfy "the demands of people who really wish to live and work in Lower Manhattan ..."

The study, instead, suggests that the small floor plates in these buildings, while suitable for residential conversion, may be a precious resource for small business, which are vital to the area's future. The study recommends tax incentives for the renovation of older buildings to provide low cost office space to these operations.

"Capital, Creativity, Community: Realizing a New Vision for Lower Manhattan", was commissioned by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and authored by Hugh O'Neill Urban Research Center New York University. Charles J. Maikish, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and general manager of the World Trade Center, presented the study at a press conference last week.

In addition to assessing the areas strengths and weaknesses, the study lays out a development strategy for Lower Manhattan that included: Improving access to Downtown, creating new businesses, increasing the housing stock when the economy improves and easing regulations on Wall Street to help New York remain a global capital. Proposals that applied to the areas real estate and future development include: *Offering low cost office space to the U.S. offices of foreign central banks and finance ministries because they will serve as "magnets" Tax exemptions for owners who offer space to Downtown branches of major museums and new museums *Credits against the commercial occupancy tax for corporate contributions to non-profit arts organizations *Extension of the Hudson River esplanade northward from Chambers Street to facilitate planning and development in Tribeca
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Title Annotation:Lower Manhattan Cultural Council commissions study entitled 'Capital, Creativity, Community: Realizing a New Vision for Lower Manhattan'
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 4, 1993
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