The city wants garment manufacturers to move to Brooklyn. But is it too far?

A new survey shows fashion companies don't want to relocate
August 14, 2017 08:00AM

Clockwise from left: Bush Terminal, the Garment District and the Brooklyn Army Terminal

Despite the lure of cheap rents, the fashion industry isn’t keen on relocating to Sunset Park.

A new survey by the Municipal Art Society shows that garment manufacturers don’t want to move from the Garment District in Manhattan to Brooklyn, despite a push from the city to do so, the Wall Street Journal reported. In March, New York City Economic Development Corp. proposed changes to the district’s zoning that will do away with a 1987 restriction aimed at protecting garment manufacturers. Without the restriction, landlords in the Garment District will have an easier time converting their buildings into office space. At the same time, the city is offering rent and other incentives for manufacturers to move to Sunset Park.

To move to Brooklyn would increase commute times by 45 minutes or more for 83 percent of workers, the survey found. Sixty-five percent of customers also indicated that they probably wouldn’t make the trek out to Sunset Park to visit these companies if they moved. Still, the Real Estate Board of New York and the neighborhood’s business improvement district argue that the 30-year-old zoning protection isn’t effective.

“In this case, you essentially had a restriction arbitrarily imposed on this neighborhood that suppressed rents and thus tax revenues for 30 years,” said Barbara Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance. [WSJ]Kathryn Brenzel