James Patchett Announces Departure From de Blasio Administration (Update)

New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President James Patchett today announced his plans to depart from the de Blasio administration, effective in early March.

Patchett has served as President and CEO of EDC since February 2017 after having shaped the City’s land use and equitable development agenda from the Mayor’s Office.

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In his role at EDC, Patchett has focused on investing in public-serving infrastructure, launching new programs to promote shared economic growth, and shepherding some of the city’s most complicated land-use projects to successful completion. He also oversaw EDC’s historic investments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Patchett’s extraordinary work as EDC President helped make New York City’s economy the most dynamic in the country before the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit, his creativity and determination helped us respond – and positioned our city to come back stronger than ever, with a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m grateful for all his efforts, and I wish him all the best in his next endeavors.”

James has shown extraordinary ability to envision and drive creative solutions to whatever problem the City encounters, from securing more COVID-19 testing capacity by standing up a lab in a matter of weeks, to building a role for the City in the growing offshore wind industry,” said Deputy Mayor Vicki Been. “His keen intelligence, unflappable calm, ability to inspire, and deep commitment to fairness have made the City a better place to live and work and generated opportunities for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers.”

“Serving the people of New York City during the last four years has been the honor of my lifetime, and I am deeply thankful to the Mayor for his confidence in me,” said EDC President James Patchett.“Even on the most challenging days, leading EDC has been my dream job because of the extraordinary team, whose members are unparalleled in their expertise, creativity and commitment to making the city a fairer and stronger place. The people of EDC have given everything they had over the last year, under the most challenging conditions to support the City’s recovery. From manufacturing millions of units of PPE locally, to building innovative new local testing capacity, to supporting small businesses in every borough, the EDC team has tackled COVID-19 with ingenuity and resolve. I firmly believe we have laid the groundwork for New York City’s ascension as a national leader in life sciences innovation as it recovers from the pandemic.”

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After seven years in public service, Patchett is leaving EDC to pursue opportunities in the private sector.

Patchett leaves behind a record of accomplishment that includes:

Pandemic Response

  • Within days of the initial Shelter in Place order in the spring, EDC mobilized to establish local production of Personal Protective Equipment for NYC healthcare workers. This work resulted in the production of 8.4 million face shields and 4.2 million hospital gowns, as well as an entirely new breathing assistance machine that was designed, manufactured locally, and federally approved in a month.
  • Over the spring and summer, EDC partnered with a combination of NYC-based 3D printing companies, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and a Brooklyn-based design studio to prototype, manufacture, and assemble over 1 million FDA-compliant COVID-19 testing kits.
  • Under Patchett’s leadership, EDC established the Pandemic Response Lab, a public-private collaboration that now performs over 30,000 COVID-19 tests per day, with a median turnaround time of less than 24 hours, and with a cost less than a quarter of what hospitals pay national reference laboratories.

Life Sciences Innovation

  • Patchett helped launch and guide LifeSciNYC, the City’s 10-year, $500 million programs to establish New York City as a global leader in life sciences research and innovation. The program invests to create millions of square feet of new life sciences innovation space and hundreds of paid internships for New York City students at top life sciences companies.
  • Over the last four years, LifeSciNYC has helped cement New York City’s place on the map in life sciences, with pharmaceutical and biotech companies attracting more than $1 billion in annual venture investment—up from $130 million in 2016.
  • LifeSciNYC’s investments have dramatically expanded New York City’s network of life science spaces. The City has already opened or announced the opening of 1.2 million square feet of new space; other half-million square feet are planned for this year.
  • Between now and 2030, New York City will see the creation of an additional 3 million square feet of life sciences innovation space, which is enough to support 100 more startups and thousands of additional jobs.
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Land Use Projects

Patchett worked with community members and local elected officials to shepherd the complex approval process for a series of large-scale community-focused projects, including:

  • Building a state-of-the-art recreation center, mixed-income housing that includes 250 new homes for low-income individuals and families, including formerly homeless New Yorkers, and non-profit office space at the Bedford-Union Armory;
  • Creating a new Tech Training Center to upskill New Yorkers and create space for more than 550 permanent tech jobs in Union Square;
  • Reimagining the former Spofford Juvenile Detention Center as a five-acre mixed-use campus, creating over 1,000 jobs and delivering over 700 affordable homes, 50,000 square feet of open space, and new recreational and community facilities, including a wellness center and artist studios;
  • Developing and securing approval for a comprehensive neighborhood plan for Inwood to lay the groundwork for 1,600 affordable homes, a new public library, immigrant-oriented research and performing arts center, a STEM Center in collaboration with CUNY, and two new waterfront public parks; and
  • Transforming a vacant lot along the Bronx River to build a new Universal Hip Hop Museum, 10,000 square feet of local retail, over 2.5 acres of open space, and 540 permanently affordable homes, while creating over 1,000 jobs.

Investments in Infrastructure

  • Patchett oversaw the initial launch and operations of NYC Ferry, which launched within 27 months of its announcement, spans 60 nautical miles, with 21 landings, and connects waterfront communities in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens to jobs, recreation, and each other. Construction is underway to add two routes and three new landings this year, which will ultimately serve all five boroughs and over 10 million riders annually.
  • Worked in partnership with local elected officials to dedicate over $200 million in infrastructure investment to Downtown Far Rockaway, delivering 1,300 affordable homes, a new library, a new early childhood education facility, nearly one acre of new public plazas, and community space.
  • Delivered the new, award-winning Hunters Point, South Park, in Long Island City, converting 11 acres of former industrial brownfield into a model resilient waterfront park.
  • Commenced construction of the East Midtown Greenway, a 40-foot wide esplanade providing bike and pedestrian paths directly over the East River. The eight-block park parallel to the FDR Drive is a vital part of the comprehensive vision to build a continuous waterfront loop around Manhattan.
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Initiatives to Promote Shared Growth

  • Patchett led the structuring of a partnership to create a new offshore wind port at the 72-acre South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, which will establish the site as a future hub for green energy and job training opportunities.
  • Broke ground on the new Made in New York campus in Sunset Park, which includes a new garment manufacturing and design innovation hub and a new 500,000 square foot Steiner Studios film studio.
  • Launched and led CyberNYC, a suite of strategic investments to grow New York City’s cybersecurity workforce, help companies drive innovation and business development and build networks and cyber community spaces. CyberNYC has attracted new funders of cybersecurity startups to New York City and helped launch a new initiative to train New Yorkers of all backgrounds for cybersecurity jobs.
  • Invested in and modernized the Brooklyn Army Terminal, adding 500,000 square feet of usable industrial space to help the campus support over 4,000 high-quality jobs.

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