City Council Approves Blood Center Rezoning
Vote supports a critical NYC project that protects the blood supply for our safety net hospitals, delivers good-paying jobs necessary for an equitable recovery, and research that supports underserved New Yorkers
Supermajority of the City Council joins citywide grassroots coalition to support the proposal that will enhance the Blood Center’s lifesaving work
New York, NY (November 23, 2021) — The City Council today approved the New York Blood Center’s ULURP application for an applied life sciences hub called Center East on the Upper East Side that will serve as the heart of the city’s life science innovation ecosystem and a key part of its pandemic response infrastructure.
The Blood Center’s project will ensure the Blood Center can continue providing safe, affordable blood services for the region’s hospitals; supercharge the city’s life science industry; and create jobs and career pathways for underrepresented groups in the industry like low-income and BIPOC New Yorkers.
“We thank the Council and City leaders for approving this critical project. Center East will position New York to be a global public health hub, create jobs, stimulate billions in economic output annually, and open career opportunities for local students and young professionals. Our vision for a state-of-the-art life science facility will ensure the nonprofit Blood Center continues to provide safe, affordable blood services to the region’s hospitals and enable the center to significantly expand its life-saving research on COVID-19 and blood-related diseases in collaboration with institutions and biotechnology partners all under the same roof,” said Rob Purvis, Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff, New York Blood Center.
In addition to the Council’s overwhelming vote of support, Mayor-elect Eric Adams has stated his support and a grassroots coalition representing thousands of New Yorkers endorsed the Blood Center’s proposal. Its members -- including 32BJ, Laborers' Local 79; the 5 Borough Chamber of Commerce; the Carpenters, Greater New York LECET (Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust); Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York; Urban Upbound; Community Voices Heard, Baruch Computing and Technology Center; and The Knowledge House -- all signed a letter urging the City Council to advance the project.
This broad, citywide group of individuals and organizations -- including electeds, labor, educational, community and economic development stakeholders -- have been vocal in their support for the Blood Center’s proposal:
"It’s important to show that the city can move projects like the Blood Center forward that are key to public health and good for the economy. Stakeholders should work together to get to yes.” -- Mayor-elect Eric Adams
"The importance of updating the institutions that support the health of all New Yorkers has never been clearer than at this moment. That's why we support the proposed plan to develop a new home for the New York Blood Center, which supplies almost all the blood for life-saving procedures in our city, and conducts vital research for diseases that disproportionately impact New Yorkers of color, such as HIV and sickle cell anemia. The project promises to create good permanent jobs and will be an important part of our city's recovery." - John Santos, Assistant to the President, 32BJ
“The proposed rezoning would enable the New York Blood Center to create Center East, a new state-of-the-art facility that will create thousands of good-paying jobs in the life sciences while advancing new treatments and cures for blood diseases like Sickle Cell that disproportionately impact our city’s Black and brown communities. My organization urges every New York City Council Member to vote yes on the rezoning of the New York Blood Center. All of our communities stand to benefit from the Center East facility and how it will help drive an equitable recovery from COVID in our city.” -- Community Voices Heard Executive Director Juanita Lewis
"The New York construction industry lost 74,000 jobs and $9.8 billion in economic activity last year during the shutdowns triggered by the pandemic. Projects like Center East are critical to the future of New York City as we look to rebound, and build back stronger than ever. The building and construction trade industry represents 20 percent of the city's economy, 10 percent of jobs and 5 percent of wages. While it is disheartening to hear that the NIMBY voices are once again putting themselves and their own personal interests ahead of the greater good, it's certainly not surprising or new. Center East will generate more than 1,500 full-time construction jobs and $1.1 billion in economic output annually. Our city needs this project now." -- Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council
“The Blood Center supports the health of countless New Yorkers across the city. But its building is decades old. This is crucial infrastructure that must be modernized and updated for the future. We applaud New York City Land Use Chair Rafael Salamanca and the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC) for offering public support for the Blood Center’s rezoning. We urge every member of the New York City Council to follow their lead, and vote yes on the rezoning of the Blood Center. This rezoning will enable the Blood Center to build Center East, a new facility that will create thousands of good-paying jobs in the life sciences for New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds. The life sciences industry cannot grow and develop more life-saving cures and treatments unless new facilities like Center East are built from the ground up. It’s time for the New York City Council to come together and get this Blood Center rezoning done. We will keep losing good-paying life sciences jobs to other cities if our city fails to develop facilities like Center East.” -- Mike Prohaska, Business Manager of Laborers’ Local 79
“The Blood Center has organized a model project in which the build-out of an important infrastructure priority that serves our city’s post-pandemic health care system will simultaneously offer opportunities for a diverse workforce and career advancement for low-income women. Our city desperately needs projects like Center East.” -- Kathleen Culhane, President, Nontraditional Employment for Women
“The New York Blood Center is a crucial hub for New York’s life science industry, and given the heightened need following the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to create a purpose-built center that will help the Blood Center’s important mission. New York City boasts industry-leading life science institutions, but we have yet to reach our full potential as one of the country’s leading life sciences hubs.” -- Carlo Scissura, New York Building Congress President and CEO
“The vision for a state-of-the-art campus for research with the Blood Center as its anchor will stimulate our economy and generate thousands of jobs — both in the near-term during build-out and in the long-term - with thousands of high-quality, well-paying healthcare positions allowing for career development and economic mobility and wealth, from PhD to administration roles. This is more important than ever given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on historically low-income and disenfranchised communities.” -- Melva M. Miller, Association for a Better New York, Chief Executive Officer
“This rezoning is not just about a building. It’s about enabling New York to set up one of the most productive life science hubs in the world. We need these companies and jobs in order to accelerate the city’s recovery.” -- Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
“Having access to a diverse field of talent is essential for all successful industries. Students and young professionals from diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds will play a pivotal role in the future development of the STEM fields -- and a campus like Center East provides essential space for nurturing this talent.” -- Jerelyn Rodriguez, Co-Founder and CEO of The Knowledge House
“The Blood Center’s proposal is a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the life science infrastructure here in New York City. And its proximity to Manhattan’s Upper East Side cluster of research and health care institutions, such as its research partners the Rockefeller Institute, MSK and NY Presyberterian is crucial to the success of creating a thriving life science ecosystem on the Upper East Side.” -- Nancy J Kelley, Founding Member, NYC Builds Bio+
"As a global tech hub with some of the world’s leading hospitals and research institutions, New York should be the epicenter of the rapidly advancing biotech industry. COVID-19 highlighted the importance of this field, and as we build back our city, we should take advantage of this opportunity to solidify New York as a place where groundbreaking research and scientific breakthroughs happen daily. We can’t do that without the infrastructure to support this work, which is why this is the right project at the right time for our city." -- Julie Samuels, Executive Director, Tech:NYC
About New York Blood Center
Founded in 1964, New York Blood Center (NYBC) is a nonprofit organization that is one of the largest independent, community-based blood centers in the world. NYBC, along with its operating divisions Community Blood Center of Kansas City, Missouri (CBC), Innovative Blood Resources (IBR), Blood Bank of Delmarva (BBD), and Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC), collect approximately 4,000 units of blood products each day and serve local communities of more than 75 million people in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, CT), Mid Atlantic area (PA, DE, MD, VA), Missouri and Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Southern New England.
NYBC and its operating divisions also provide a wide array of transfusion-related medical services to over 500 hospitals nationally, including Comprehensive Cell Solutions, the National Center for Blood Group Genomics, the National Cord Blood Program, and the Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, which — among other milestones — developed a practical screening method for hepatitis B as well as a safe, effective and affordable vaccine, and a patented solvent detergent plasma process innovating blood-purification technology worldwide.