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Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Corey Johnson Announce Planning Effort to Support New York City's Garment Industry

May 10, 2017

NEW YORK— New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, and Council Member Corey Johnson today announced the formation of the Garment Industry Steering Committee.

Following the pattern of the successful East Midtown Steering Committee, this new group will be chaired by Borough President Brewer and will meet for three months with the following objectives:

  • Engage stakeholders in the Garment District and New York’s fashion and garment 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.

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.

Statement of Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen:

“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.

“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. There is more and more consensus that the outdated preservation requirement has not proven effective at securing this industry the affordable, quality manufacturing space it needs. Thirty years of continuous job losses prove it. It’s time for a new approach to get this industry thriving again.

“We are investing heavily in new, quality space in Brooklyn with the affordable, long-term leases fashion firms need to grow their businesses. We’re investing in capital grants to help firms get the hi-tech equipment they need to compete.

“We look forward to collaborating with Borough President Brewer, Council Member Corey Johnson and stakeholders from across the fashion sector to make sure we have a robust plan in place to keep this industry strong both in the Garment Center, and citywide.”

Statement of Borough President Gale A. Brewer:

“I’m thrilled to work with the administration to support the Garment Center. I expect by late August we’ll have a plan we can all be proud of.

“We all want the same thing: a thriving garment manufacturing center as the foundation for New York City’s continued success as a global fashion industry capital. We all also agree that the manufacturing preservation requirement in the Garment District’s zoning has been a flawed mechanism for actually protecting garment manufacturing in Manhattan.

“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 bottom line is that we already agree on a lot, and there’s a little more homework we need to do.”

Statement of Council member Corey Johnson:

“Community involvement is an indispensable part of creating good public policy. With this steering committee, the City is committing to engage with those most affected by the changes that the Garment District has undergone so far and the challenges it will face in the future.

“Each of the various stakeholders invested in this neighborhood agree that something must be done to ensure that New York remains the epicenter of global fashion. I’m excited to participate in a constructive dialogue with those who know this industry and neighborhood best and find a solution that works well for everyone.”

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