In response to the severe lack of office space in Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs, the Environmental Simulation Center, in partnership with the Regional Plan Association, Thompson Design, and Jonathon Rose Companies, developed proposals to create the City's fourth Regional Center in Long Island City. The proposal built on a prior study done with Robert B. Pauls for the LIC/LDC that proposed a Regional Center of approximately 20-24 million SF.
The ESC proposed a special-management zoning district to create a high-density, mixed-use, 24/7 community that capitalizes on the significant transportation infrastructure that is already in place in Long Island City. The proposal meets the needs of both development and community interests by maximizing development rights while, providing flexibility in the allocation of density and the mixing of uses, and providing a new public park that would become a much needed public amenity and establish an identity for the Regional Center. This was to be achieved through the use of "performance based" zoning and growth management techniques (benchmarks, thresholds, and capacities) would be used to manage the district as a whole through the application of 3D/GIS and utilize Transfer of Development Rights and Tax Increment Financing.
The ESC's proposal was included in the Schumer Commission's Group of 35 report: Preparing for the Future: a Commercial Development Strategy for New York City (2001), and was instrumental in establishing the Regional Center's baseline densities and mix of uses, adapted by the Planning Commission in its recent rezoning of Long Island City.