City Council passes comprehensive Garment District rezoning plans

Posted On Fri, December 21, 2018 By

Posted On Fri, December 21, 2018 By In Midtown, Policy

On Thursday, the City Council unanimously passed a rezoning of the Garment District in Midtown Manhattan. As part of a larger manufacturing strategy, the plan for Midtown is intended to preserve production space and ensure long-term stability for the fashion industry, while also supporting the other industries that are growing in the area. As 6sqft previously reported, the citywide plan includes the creation of a 200,000-square foot garment production hub at the Made in NY Campus in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

“We’re preserving the City’s fashion manufacturing capacity both in its traditional home in the Garment Center, and with investments across the city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Today’s vote ensures that the Garment Center will continue to thrive as a mixed-use neighborhood and that New York City will always be the world’s fashion capital.”

The new plan addresses the rapid diversification of industries in the Garment District, whose 66,000 jobs across industries is expected to grow to 72,000 by 2021. Over the past few years, the area’s economic profile has changed. Though there’s been a 17 percent increase in fashion office space in the past five years, most of the area’s jobs — 60 percent– are now in nonprofit, healthcare, entertainment, and IP services.

The rezoning removes a 1987 requirement that stipulates property owners have to preserve industrial space at a 1:1 ratio with office space when converting manufacturing buildings to different uses, allowing landlords to convert their properties to office buildings as they see fit. “Through this zoning action, we ensure that the Garment Center supports a healthy mix of uses and thrives for decades to come,” said Marisa Lago, Director of the Department of City Planning.

The plan also includes a new special permit to curb hotel development throughout the Garment District, a customized tax incentive program that requires property owners to provide long-term, affordable leases for fashion manufacturers, and funding support for the public-private acquisition of a building to permanently house garment production.

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