Businesses open their doors to workers displaced by Sandy
One of the heart-warming stories to come out of Superstorm Sandy was that of the NY Daily News, aided by their competitors after being displaced from their offices and having their printing press knocked out by the storm — rival news organizations from the New York Times to the Hartford Courant printed for them, and the Associated Press and Jewish Week opened their doors to lend office space.
But on Monday morning, Metro obtained an email from Daily News CEO Bill Holiber to his staff, informing them of a search to find temporary office space for up to a year, as water was still being pumped from their office building at 4 New York Plaza in Lower Manhattan. He estimated nine months for the building’s recovery.
“Putting a timetable on this will surely get me into trouble but, hopefully, we will all be re-located by the end of January,” Holiber wrote. “Please understand that many things could come up to alter this goal.”
The Daily News is just one of many businesses that have been displaced by the storm, and city and state officials are scrambling to offer assistance.
On October 31st, just days after the storm hit, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an initiative offering free temporary office space for 30 days at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park.
The space, spanning 40,000 square feet, was made available by the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
EDC has set up a webpage directory that lists businesses offering office space and donated services, from garbage trucks for clean up to computer repair and help rebuilding downed servers.
Rob Byrnes, President of the East Midtown Partnership, took in around eight “refugees” from the International Legal Foundation, who have been shut out of their John Street office since the storm, he said, but is still on the lookout for other businesses who can help out.
“Unfortunately, I’ve had to turn down more than a dozen other companies looking for space,” Byrnes said.
Other help for businesses
The mayor’s Small Business Services and the EDC are also offering low interest loans of up to $25,000. There is $10 million available, made up of an initial $5 million investment from the city matched by another $5 million from Goldman Sachs. The loans are interest-free for the first six months and have a 1% interest rate for the following 24 months.