Fifth Ave. BID Board Likes City’s New Team
By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge — The City Council has formed a team and business leaders want to join!
The Board of Directors of the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District is enthusiastic about the city’s New Business Acceleration Team (NBAT), a program created by the Council to streamline the bureaucracy and paperwork that owners face when opening a new restaurant.
A representative of the team recently met with the BID board to talk about the project and impressed board members, BID President Jim Clark said.
“The board had a very favorable reaction to it. It’s a good idea. The city is trying to have one agency coordinate applications for a restaurant, instead of making a merchant deal with all different agencies,” he said. “Right now, if you want to open a restaurant, there are 15 different applications you have to fill out. You have to deal with 15 different agencies — the Fire Department, Buildings, Health, Consumer Affairs.
“If you fail a Health Department inspection, the average wait for a re-inspection is six weeks. This new initiative can speed that up considerably,” Clark said.
Patrick Condren, executive director of both the Fifth Avenue BID and the Bay Ridge 86th Street BID, said it used to be “a complex process” to open a business in New York.
“If I were to say 10 years ago that I wanted to open a business, I would have to go to one agency, which would send me to another agency and then another, and then I would find out that I missed an agency and would have to go back,” he said.
The New Business Acceleration Team was created in March of 2010 by the City Council in cooperation with the Bloomberg administration to assist owners of new restaurants.
“But the city is looking to expand it to all businesses,” Clark said.
Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, who attended the BID meeting, said she was impressed. In addition to restaurants, the team helps owners of bars, bakeries and butcher shops, she said.
“The New Business Acceleration Team transforms the way these new businesses deal with city government and get through some of the bureaucratic red tape,” she said.
With the new program, “all you do is call 311,” Condren said.
He added that a merchant who is planning to open a business in either of the two Bay Ridge BIDs can call the BIDs for more information. The Fifth Avenue BID can be reached at (718) 238-8181. The phone number for the 86th Street BID is (718) 680-2420.
The program can help an entire community, according to Condren.
“You don’t want a lot of empty storefronts in a neighborhood,” he said.
Earlier this month, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Tacos Tulcingo, a restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens, to celebrate the fact that 546 restaurants have opened using the services of the New Business Acceleration Team.
“The great news is that under the new NBAT model, we have helped more than 500 restaurants open two months more quickly. That’s two months of salaries being paid, revenue being generated and jobs being created per restaurant,” Quinn said.
“Helping new restaurants open faster is good for the entire city — because the sooner they open, the sooner they can create jobs,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
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