City Hall quietly planning Garment District rezoning

The de Blasio administration has been quietly planning a rezoning of the Garment District in Manhattan that could potentially relax protections for fashion companies, and aims to file an official application in early April, Crain's has learned. The rezoning...

City Hall quietly planning Garment District rezoning

The de Blasio administration has been quietly planning a rezoning of the Garment District in Manhattan that could potentially relax protections for fashion companies, and aims to file an official application in early April, Crain's has learned.

The rezoning is tied to a plan announced earlier this month to create a new manufacturing campus in Sunset Park, Brooklyn that would provide lower cost space to fashion companies that now call midtown Manhattan home. The idea behind the Made in New York campus, which will be around 200,000 square feet and also cater to media companies, was to give the garment industry a chance to find space in a cheaper part of the city.

At the time, the mayor did not disclose the administration's plans to alter the Garment District itself. Any rezoning there would likely relax some of the rules that require landlords to rent a portion of their buildings to companies in the fashion industry. The idea isn't new. The Bloomberg administration attempted such a feat in 2009, but was met with a fierce backlash that ultimately killed the plan and could complicate the current administration's efforts this time around.

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Sources with knowledge of the city's plans told Crain's about the time line, and that the proposal would preserve the manufacturing zoning for the neighborhood while not resulting in any additional density.

"This administration is deeply committed to protecting and supporting garment manufacturing across the city," a spokeswoman from the development corp. said in a statement. "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."

The Development Corp. recently had a meeting with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who told Crain's the rezoning was planned with virtually no outreach to the community. Her office is seeking to delay any formal introduction until more of the potential pitfalls have been hashed out.

"This is not a well thought out Made in New York strategy," Brewer said. "There are so many unknowns, and we could make a big mistake here if it isn't done properly."

What exactly the administration has planned is unclear, though Brewer is hoping that they will keep protections for fashion companies intact in Manhattan, while setting the stage for other firms to move to the Sunset Park waterfront once the $136 million campus is complete in 2020 should they choose to.

The de Blasio administration has been quietly planning a rezoning of the Garment District in Manhattan that could potentially relax protections for fashion companies, and aims to file an official application in early April, Crain's has learned.

The rezoning is tied to a plan announced earlier this month to create a new manufacturing campus in Sunset Park, Brooklyn that would provide lower cost space to fashion companies that now call midtown Manhattan home. The idea behind the Made in New York campus, which will be around 200,000 square feet and also cater to media companies, was to give the garment industry a chance to find space in a cheaper part of the city.

At the time, the mayor did not disclose the administration's plans to alter the Garment District itself. Any rezoning there would likely relax some of the rules that require landlords to rent a portion of their buildings to companies in the fashion industry. The idea isn't new. The Bloomberg administration attempted such a feat in 2009, but was met with a fierce backlash that ultimately killed the plan and could complicate the current administration's efforts this time around.

Sources with knowledge of the city's plans told Crain's about the time line, and that the proposal would preserve the manufacturing zoning for the neighborhood while not resulting in any additional density.

"This administration is deeply committed to protecting and supporting garment manufacturing across the city," a spokeswoman from the development corp. said in a statement. "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."

The Development Corp. recently had a meeting with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who told Crain's the rezoning was planned with virtually no outreach to the community. Her office is seeking to delay any formal introduction until more of the potential pitfalls have been hashed out.

"This is not a well thought out Made in New York strategy," Brewer said. "There are so many unknowns, and we could make a big mistake here if it isn't done properly."

What exactly the administration has planned is unclear, though Brewer is hoping that they will keep protections for fashion companies intact in Manhattan, while setting the stage for other firms to move to the Sunset Park waterfront once the $136 million campus is complete in 2020 should they choose to.

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