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New York City Construction Filings Are Down 22% From Last Year

Workers social distancing at 20 Bruckner Blvd.

New construction activity has reached its lowest point since the Great Financial Crisis, a report released Friday shows. 

Building filings in New York City declined 22% year-over-year in the first three quarters of 2020, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s quarterly New Building Construction Pipeline Report.  

Total filings recovered 12% quarter-over-quarter between Q2 and Q3 with 441 new filings, up from 386 new filings in Q2, construction labor leaders and real estate lobby groups say the government needs to do more to stimulate building for the sake of the city’s economy and the hundreds of thousands of jobs the construction industry creates across the five boroughs. 

“This 10-year low point for new construction activity calls for an all-hands-on-deck response by elected officials and a laser focus on policies that will generate jobs and growth without setting back crucial recovery efforts,” REBNY President James Whelan said in the release. 

Filings aren’t the only thing declining. Total construction jobs in the city decreased by 17,300 year-over-year in October, according to the State Department of Labor. 

“These projects create thousands of jobs that lead to family-sustaining careers with benefits, and that’s exactly what’s needed to generate the economic activity and mobility that will help New York City turn the corner on this economic crisis,” Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera said in a statement. 

Real estate and labor leaders say that to spur construction activity the city could develop a new transportation master plan, incentivize life sciences development, facilitate the conversion of Class-B and Class-C office spaces in Midtown to residential, create a centralized agency for building to decrease bureaucratic inefficiencies and lift the 12 floor-area-ratio cap, REBNY said. 

“The building industry is essential to New York’s economic resurgence,” New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo Scissura said. “It has been proven repeatedly that investing in infrastructure and construction in times of crisis can uplift our city and state, jump-start the economy and create jobs.”