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Manhattan’s Garment District is getting a new food and beverage concept this summer. Located at 231 West 39th Street, The Deco Food + Drink will include a food hall, cocktail bar, and event space aimed at appealing to both office workers in Midtown and tourists known to flock to the neighborhood. To pay homage to the historic Garment District and 1920s New York, the food hall boasts an Art Deco design by Carpenter & Mason, as the New York Post reported last August.
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Earlier this week The Garment District Alliance unveiled “Iceberg,” an immersive art installation on the Broadway pedestrian plazas along Broadway from West 37th to 38th Streets. Created by ATOMIC3 & Appareil Architecture, in collaboration with Jean-Sébastien Côté and Philippe Jean, the installation allows the public to generate a light and sound show as they pass through the metal arches of the installation, which react to the pace of each participant by turning different colors. But there’s more to it than pretty lights—the installation also carries an environmental message.
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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.
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Image via Wally Gobetz/Flickr CC
The city is looking to partner with a nonprofit to buy a building in the Garment District that would become a new hub for fashion businesses. The New York City Economic Development Corporation on Thursday released a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) seeking realtors who want to work with the city to acquire a Midtown property, the Commercial Observer first reported. While the city is looking to preserve Midtown’s Garment District, primed for a rezoning, at the same time, it is still luring apparel makers and other manufacturers to Sunset Park in Brooklyn.
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Photo via via Alexandra Ferguson
The city released on Monday a plan to preserve at least 300,000 square feet of production space in the Garment District for the fashion industry by providing tax breaks for owners who lease manufacturing space. While the district, bound by 35th and 40th Streets and Broadway and Ninth Avenue, was once home to hundreds of thousands of fashion jobs, it has lost 85 percent of firms in the last three decades.
In addition to the tax incentives, the plan creates a new zoning rule that would help limit the construction of hotels by introducing a special permit. The Garment Center IDA program, backed by City Hall, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and industry leaders, also includes lifting previous protections from a 1987 mandate that preserves millions of square feet of apparel-production space on certain side streets. According to the Wall Street Journal, if the plan is approved by the city council, owners would be allowed to convert buildings to other uses, like offices.
There’s been much talk in the past couple months about the city’s push to drive the fashion industry from its long-time home in the Garment District to new, lower-cost space in Sunset Park. The new, $136 million, 200,000-square-foot “Made in NYC Campus” has become synonymous with the shift, but the adjacent Industry City mega-development has been at the forefront since even beforeBelvedere Capital and Jamestown Properties took over in 2013. With tenants such as the Gap, Bauble Bar, and Rag & Bone, they’ve now announced that internationally known jewelry company Alexis Bittar will lease an additional 10,000 square feet (they already have 17,000), and a source tells us that women’s apparel label Clara Sunwoo is leasing 14,000 square feet of space, moving completely from the Garment District. This brings Industry City’s total space leased to fashion companies to 350,000 square feet, more than 200,000 of which is manufacturing space.
At a Manhattan community board meeting Wednesday evening, city officials told garment industry representatives of plans to remove Midtown‘s manufacturing preservation requirement, Crain’s reports. The change to a 1987 zoning rule means that landlords will have the option to rent the formerly set-aside space to commercial office tenants. City officials cited the failure of the preservation effort to meet its goal, highlighted by a reported 83 percent decline the number of garment workers–from 30,000 to 5,100– since it was first implemented. As 6sqft recently reported, the rezoning is seen as “a clear push to drive these businesses toward lower cost space in Sunset Park.”
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Image via Wally Gobetz/Flickr CC
Just two weeks after the city announced that they’d spend $136 million to create the “Made in NYC Campus,” a hub in Sunset Park that will provide affordable space for film and fashion companies, it’s come to light that the de Blasio administration has been planning a rezoning of Manhattan’s Garment District. As Crain’s explains, this could potentially roll back rules that require landlords to rent a portion of their buildings to fashion companies, a clear push to drive these businesses toward lower cost space in Sunset Park.
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Photo via Alexandra Ferguson
At its peak in 1950, the city’s garment industry employed 323,669 New Yorkers. By 2000, this number had dropped to 59,049, and in 2015, it was less than half that with just 22,626 residents “making apparel, accessories, and finished textile products,” reports the Times. The struggling trade, long centered in the area bound by 5th/9th Avenues and 35th/41st Streets, has fallen victim not only to national trends of work being shipped overseas, but local issues like rising rents, outdated facilities, and competition from tech and media companies. But thanks to a collaboration between the city and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a “new, modern garment district” is taking hold in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where several industrial conversions offer cheaper rents, better equipped real estate, and a creative, collaborative community
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Will 21st century New York City be able to retain its fashion capital status? How does an aspiring fashionista build a brilliant career? The answers come from a winning combination of education, innovation and inspiration, plus financial and media support.
Though styles come and go with dizzying speed and designers fall in and out of favor, New York City has held the title of global fashion capital since the mid 20th century, when it rose to prominence with the unprecedented idea of developing sportswear as fashion. Today’s NYC is home to some of the world’s top fashion schools whose famous graduates add to the city’s fashion culture and networks. Foreign designers choose to live and work here because of this status and creative energy, adding even more to the fabric. We may share this pedestal with quirky London–and trés chic Paris, the brainy Belgians, the stylish Scandinavians and the ascendant Aussies make things more interesting–but NYC is known as the place where style ideas and trends are born and exchanged.
But is NYC still the world’s fashion capital?