A new Garment Industry Steering Committee has been formed to guide the rezoning of the one-time fashion hub of Manhattan.
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, and Council Member Corey Johnson announced the formation of the committee to be chaired by Brewer and to meet over the next three months.
It’s aim is to get input from the Garment District’s fashion and clothing industries; devise a plan to ensure sufficient long-term space in mid-Manhattan remains available for garment manufacturers in the years to come; and expand upon the City’s existing plans for boosting the garment manufacturing industry.
“We believe in New York City’s future not just as a capital of fashion design and marketing, but of home-grown garment manufacturing. That’s why we’ve invested more than a quarter billion dollars in the industry,” said Deputy Mayor Glen.
“As part of that vision, I want to see the Garment Center not just survive, but thrive as a critical hub, even as we grow the industry in other parts of the city.”
The move follows concerns that the city’s current rezoning plan for the Garment District could lead to the fashion industry’s exit from New York City.
The city’s proposal would eliminate a 1987 zoning mandate that required an equal share of space for manufacturing and offices in the Garment District and designated two Sunset Park facilities – the Brooklyn Army Terminal and the Bush Terminal – as landing sites for relocated garment companies.
Borough President Brewer was particularly critical, but on Wednesday, she praised the formation of the new steering committee noting: “The one thing experts and business owners keep telling me is this: the Garment Center is a complex web of businesses that fit together. Some may be better off in Brooklyn, but some need to stay in Manhattan – and we must maintain a core of manufacturing space in Manhattan for them to do so. We need to determine how much space is necessary and the best way to acquire or preserve that space.
“Our steering committee will gather experts and representatives from all major stakeholders – manufacturers, labor, designers, and more – to examine the data, hear from everyone, and achieve consensus.”
The Department of City Planning will begin the formal review process for zoning changes affecting the Garment Center at the August 21 City Planning Review Session, after the steering committee makes its recommendations.