Mayor Bill de Blasio sees Sunset Park as the new landing spot for the city’s fashion industry. The industry, however, doesn’t seem to share that vision.
Some garment manufacturers and other city officials aren’t on board with the mayor’s proposal to shift focus to Brooklyn, where the city will offer cheap rents and grants to lure companies to the borough. As part of the effort, the city would lift a 1987 zoning law that protects manufacturers in the Garment District.
But manufacturers, designers and others argue that garment companies need to stay in close proximity to each other in order to succeed and that luring some businesses to Brooklyn will only disrupt an already hurting industry, Bloomberg reported.
“What we have is special,” Joe Ferrara, chairman of the Garment Center Supplier Association, said. “It may be the skills to create a First Lady’s gown, a Broadway costume, a garment for the Fashion Week runway, but to say we don’t need to be here is to not understand why we continue to thrive here.”
De Blasio wants to invest $236 million to renovate the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Bush Terminal — 500,000 and 200,00 square feet, respectively — as possible new spaces for garment manufacturers. Ferrara’s organization has asked the city to instead help secure 500,000 square feet in the Garment District through long-term leases reserved for manufacturing. The group would invest $65 million to buy space if the city chipped in $187.5 million. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel