Tax Abatement Resolustion 


This resolution was passed on February 24, 2010 by Community Board 3.

WHEREAS: Arts and Entertainment is one of the largest industries in New York City with the economic impact of non-profit arts estimated to be $5.8 Billion and 40,460 jobs (Alliance for the Arts, 2005);


WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other performing arts organizations are an integral part of the Arts & Entertainment industry: A) as an entry point for actors, playwrights, and other artists, B) for the expression and exploration of the diverse culture of New York City communities, C) for sites of creativity, experimentation and innovation, D) for jobs in our local communities;


WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other arts venues are economic drivers of local neighborhoods, and are crucial to the cultural and economic resilience and diversity of our neighborhoods;


WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other arts venues are closely tied to local neighborhood small businesses, for instance one theater in CB3 has 70 restaurants contribute food to an annual arts festival;


WHEREAS: Small to mid sized theaters and other performing arts venues have a substantial economic impact in CB3, for instance, the [East] Fourth Street Arts Cultural District has estimated that their member arts organizations generate more than $24.8 million in economic benefits for local restaurants, shops, and support services and when networked across the Lower East Side, the economic impact of neighborhood arts groups is over $50 million. (Source:  Fourth Arts Block using the US Department of Commerce’s conservative economic multiplier of 2.01).


WHEREAS: CB3 has been a historic incubator and concentration of Off-Off Broadway theaters and has lost many of its small theaters in the late 90s and other performing arts venues in the last decade due to real estate competition and speculation, resulting in spaces constructed for performance being repurposed and irretrievably lost;


WHEREAS: Areas (CB2, CB4, CB5) surrounding CB3 have recently lost 25-30 percent of their small to mid sized theaters in the last five years predominantly due to real estate competition (New York Innovative Theatre Awards study, Dec 08);


WHEREAS: CB3 remains an important viable center for theater and performing arts with an increase in productions despite a loss of venues (NYITA study Dec 08) by the intensification of use of its remaining space (highest proportion of productions per venue in Manhattan);


WHEREAS: Other cities and states have successfully enacted innovative policies (e.g. land use, tax, public buildings) to sustain and retain theater and other performance venues;


WHEREAS: CB3 Art Task Force Town Halls, and the joint Community Board Forum on small to mid sized theaters have been well attended with extensive expert and public testimony the importance of theater and arts venues for local communities and on the loss of theater and arts venues due to real estate competition and speculation.


WHEREAS: Presently, non-profit theaters and performing arts organizations venues that own their own space get a Real Estate Tax Credit, but identical organizations that lease space from a for profit landlord do not;


WHEREAS: A Real Estate Tax credit for renting to small to medium sized performing arts organizations, would provide a financial incentive to lease to such organizations at a lower market rate;


WHEREAS: The City of New York provides City subsidized space for some of the largest arts organizations in the City;


WHEREAS: CB3 passed a unanimous resolution in March 2009 calling on elected officials to: “Develop and adopt land use, tax and other governmental incentives and policies to retain and secure theater and other arts and cultural venue spaces and to retain arts and cultural organizations in our district and the City of New York.”


WHEREAS: Arts & Theater Task Forces of Community Boards 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 have collaborated to develop a proposal for a Real Estate Tax Credit for renting to small to medium sized performing arts organizations and have reached out to obtain support and input from the rest of the Community Board Arts Task Forces;


WHEREAS: The New York City Council and Manhattan Borough President representatives and staff provided technical assistance to the CB Arts TF’s and Committees for the development of a feasible proposal for a Small to Medium sized Performing Arts Real Estate Tax Credit;


WHEREAS: CB3 in the danger of losing performing arts venues that have commercial leases from for profit landlords that may indeed be able to stay in CB3 with lease renewals at feasible rates;


WHEREAS: CB3 has historic performing arts space that could be recovered for such use with the incentive of a Real Estate Tax Credit;


WHEREAS: There is currently vacant space in CB3 that could become feasible to rent to displaced performing arts organizations with a Real State Tax Credit;


WHEREAS: CB3’s local businesses, resident artists and patrons will economically benefit from greater retention and stability of local community performing arts venues;


WHEREAS: In this time of a deep recession, performing arts organizations can contribute to the economic resilience of our local economy;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: CB3 calls on its elected representatives of the New York City Council,  New York State Legislature, Mayor and Governor to work with Manhattan Community Board 3, the theater, arts & culture related committees of all 12 of Manhattan’s Community Boards in their unprecedented informal alliance to develop innovative solutions to halt the rapid demise of this important Cultural sector beginning with the proposal for a real estate tax credit and the development and adaptation of other policies to incentive for space for small to mid-sized non-profit performing arts organizations.


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