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Public and private join for economy.

As we begin a new year, there is a sense of optimism beginning to take shape that 1993 will be a time of economic recovery, however modest it may be. On the national scene, the economic statistics appear to be headed in the right direction. The change in administrations in Washington - and the prospect it brings for an end to congressional gridlock - is also welcome news.

However, any growth in the national economy will probably occur at the manufacturing level before it reaches the corporate headquarters, which is the heart of our region's economy. The job shrinkage in the Fairfield-Westchester region's corporate base that began in the late 1980's continues to adversely affect the office market. This is especially true in our region where IBM and AT&T in Westchester County and Union Carbide and RichardsonVicks in Fairfield County have made significant or complete reductions in their workforces.

Despite the current surplus of office space in both counties, the availability of large blocks of Class A prime office space is limited, especially in Westchester County where there are only four Class A office buildings immediately available with at least 100,000 square feet of contiguous space.

No one in the tri-state region has been spared from corporate downsizing. Cuts in the defense industry have hurt Connecticut and Long Island. New York City continues to lose companies to the suburbs despite a softening of rental rates in Midtown. Even New Jersey, which has successfully lured Wail Street firms across the Hudson, is fighting for its share of an ever-shrinking pie.

It's no wonder that in the past year we have seen a proliferation of economic development programs by all areas in the tri-state region. PSE&G in New Jersey and LILCO on Long Island have waged aggressive marketing campaigns to lure new businesses. New York City has rolled out attractive tax incentives to keep companies such as Prudential and Morgan Stanley from leaving the city. Closer to home, SAICA and the Westchester Business Partnership have launched their own campaigns to attract new business and hold onto existing companies. Both groups have achieved some notable successes in 1992.

The emergence of economic development programs in this region is a clear signal that the public and private sectors understand that the economic health of our region cannot be taken for granted. Some may argue that it is counterproductive for the various counties and states in our region to be vying for each others business. However, this intra-regional competitiveness has forced all areas in the region to reexamine their economic assets - and liabilities.
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Title Annotation:Review & Forecast, Section V; economic development programs in New York and New Jersey indicate participation by public and private sectors
Author:Rostenberg, John H.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jan 27, 1993
Previous Article:IBM renews.
Next Article:Consumer confidence gaining momentum.

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