Can the Garment District keep its name if fashion firms continue to flee?
The manufacturing area, which stretches from Fifth to Ninth avenues and from 34th to 42nd streets, has seen an influx of hotels and TAMI tenants, while clothing companies are leaving. In 2015, there were 2,589 garment industry firms compared with 3,472 other types of businesses, according to a Garment District Alliance report, the Commercial Observer reported. This is the third straight year the industry has been outnumbered.
Between 2014 and 2015, the area saw 55 tenants related to apparel leave, according to the report.
“Originally the whole neighborhood was built by and for the industry,” Barbara Blair Randall, president of the Garment District Alliance, told the Observer. “The [fashion] industry is not as district-centric as it once was. If you look back 30 years ago, everybody was here. You had to be here.”
The vacancy rate in the district also increased 23.6 percent last year to 3.2 million square feet, compared with 2.6 million square feet in 2014, according to the report.
While the clothing production industry has declined in the district, 33 new hotels have been built since 2005, the Observer reported. The area is also attracting TAMI tenants. In December, Dalan Management bought a 12-story, 70,000-square-foot office building at 22-24 West 38th Street for $43.5 million and is looking revamp it for tech and creative tenants, The Real Deal reported.
Last year, TRD examined a potential zoning change for the Garment District, which would get rid of a regulation from the 80s that required a large portion of the area be set aside for manufacturing use. [CO] — Dusica Sue Malesevic