Features, Law and Politics, New York

NYC Moves to Preserve Garment District

June 6, 2018

By Neal Tepel

New York, NY – New York City has unveiled a comprehensive package to support fashion production in the Garment District.
The plan includes a proposal for targeted zoning changes that will have a positive impact on the Garment District. A special permit is designed to curb hotel development in the zone. A tax incentive is being implimented to preserve manufacturing space in the Garment Center.  In addition,  a building will be dedicated to garment production.

“After years of effort, we’ve got a plan that will preserve the heart and soul of the city’s iconic Garment District. We still have a long public process ahead of us and I’m looking forward to a collaborative process that includes feedback from all stakeholders, but I am confident that working together we will ensure that New York City remains the fashion capital of the world. I want to thank EDC and the many industry advocates who have been working for years to get us where we are today,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

The program requires property owners to offer 15-year leases with a maximum gross rent of $35 per square foot. The participating property owners will receive discretionary tax benefits from the NYCIDA that range from $1.00 – $4.00 per square foot of manufacturing space that ranges between 25,000 – 100,000 square feet. NYCIDA has commitments to preserve 300,000 square feet of production space through this program and welcomes additional participation.

“The Garment Center’s unique ecosystem of skilled workers and specialty suppliers clustered in one place is the foundation that the wider New York fashion world is built on. What we’ve negotiated here is a real plan to preserve it for years to come,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This is much more than just a tax benefit program, although the IDA benefits are central.  It’s an IDA program combined with a real commitment of resources to purchase permanent space. This package will help keep the fashion industry anchored here in New York.”

In addition to the IDA program, the de Blasio Administration has committed up to $20 million in City capital to facilitate the acquisition of a building in the Garment District. The commitment requires a public-private partnership with a non-profit organization to operate and manage the building as a dedicated production space. The City is slated to release a request for expressions of interest to advance this opportunity in September 2018.

New York City’s garment manufacturing industry has lost 95% of its workforce since the industry’s peak in 1950. However, the fashion industry is still a significant contributor to the city’s economy, employing over 5% of the city’s total workforce.  Today, there are approximately 1,600 garment manufacturing firms citywide, and about 25% of these businesses, or approximately 400 firms, are in the Garment District. These companies face immense global competition and real estate pressures despite preservation attempts.

 

June 6, 2018

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