- Kristopher Fraser |
Crain's has reported that mayor Bill de Blasio's administration has been quietly planning a rezoning of the Garment District in Manhattan that could relax protections for manufacturers. An official application is planned to be filed as early as April.
However, an official statement from the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) said that "This administration is deeply committed to protecting and supporting garment manufacturing across the city. We're working closely with industry stakeholders to ensure New York City remains a global hub of fashion and strengthening local garment manufacturing is central to that effort." Thereby refuting any reports of "rezoning" efforts.
The effort is part of a plan announced earlier this month to create a new manufacturing campus in a more affordable part of the city. The mayor has his eyes set on Sunset Park, Brooklyn to make this happen. The proposed Made in New York Campus would not only feature space for manufacturing, but space for media companies as well. The space is expected to be around 200,000 square feet.
Will NYC's Garment District be rezoned?
The proposal would loosen restrictions that kept manufacturing in the area, but also led to vacancies. Rental hikes in the area over the years have made it more difficult for smaller companies to rent space.
Former mayor Michael Bloomberg made a similar effort in 2009, but it was met with fierce backlash, thus killing the plan.
The hope is that this new proposal will give garment manufacturers the same leverage and privileges they have in the Garment District, but it will also give firms the option of moving to Sunset Park once the Made In New York Campus is complete.
According to information provided by the EDC, the current P1 and P2 zoning regulations that were put into place do not apply to the entire district, only the mid-blocks. The special zoning regulations that were implemented applied to all manufacturers, not just apparel manufacturers and clothing makers. These rules included things like restricted hotel development east of 8th Avenue and requiring landlords to seek permission from City Planning Commission to have a 1-1 ratio if they wanted to convert any manufacturing space into office space.
The EDC has stressed that rather than a rezoning, this is a text amendment, and any changes to the existing regulations will apply to only P1 and P2 of the Garment District. They have also stated that the City's plan will keep manufacturing zoning 100 percent in place.photo:via Garment District Facebook