Planning society suggests measures to upkeep Garment District

October 14, 2011 11:14AM

The city’s fashion industry generates $9 billion in total wages and contributes $1.7 billion in annual tax revenue, a new report by the Municipal Art Society on the Garment District shows, but it’s losing steam thanks to high rents and competition in manufacturing in other countries, particularly Asia.

“New York risks losing it all unless we focus on our core strengths and learn from our competitors; implement smart strategies; find efficiencies in the existing systems; invest in the human and physical infrastructure; and pool the intellectual, creative and financial resources of all the district’s key constituencies,” said Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society. “If we do that successfully, the future of our fashion industry can serve as a model for job creation efforts across the U.S.”

MAS’ recommendations for the Garment District include a marketing campaign and various other real estate-related initiatives. A lack of affordable space is one critical issue, the report says.

“In an effort to secure affordable space, manufacturing tenants should be consolidated into several buildings. The total building capacity of the nine buildings with the most amount of occupied manufacturing space would be sufficient to host the total amount of manufacturing space within the garment center zoning district, approximately 1.34 million square feet,” it says.

MAS also proposes changing the zoning in the area in order to increase value for property owners.

It was recently reported that the the local business improvement district is trying to attract nightlife to the area in an effort to bolster the Garment District from an area run by workday commuters into a 24-hour destination. — Katherine Clarke