De Blasio administration puts a pin in plan to rezone Garment District

City postpones rezoning following steering committee report

Gale Brewer, Barbara Blair and the Garment District needle
Gale Brewer, Barbara Blair and the Garment District needle

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration will put a temporary hold on its plan to rezone the Garment District for a second time after a steering committee report recommended phasing in the rezoning to help protect jobs in the garment industry.

The committee, led by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and made up of landlords, businesses and community groups, put forward 13 recommendations for the rezoning, Crain’s reported.

The biggest sticking point appears to be a provision that would phase in the rezoning, a proposal opposed by business leaders on the committee.

“This was an item that not only did not have consensus,” said Barbara Blair, president of the Garment District Alliance, “but the difference of the positions was also significant.”

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The steering committee also recommended creating a New York City industrial development agency program that would keep long-term production space in the Garment District and put restrictions on hotel development in the neighborhood, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“There’s one recommendation that all of the garment industry stakeholders and elected officials agree is absolutely essential, this is what it is: We cannot get rid of the current zoning protections for the garment district until we are sure enough space is preserved for the manufacturers who need to stay in Manhattan,” Brewer said.

The city had already delayed the timeline for the rezoning, which was originally planned to launch in April, earlier this year. The de Blasio administration has sought to make Sunset Park the new landing spot for the city’s fashion industry, but has faced resistance from manufacturers who say the commute doesn’t make sense for its workers. [Crain’s, WSJ] – Rich Bockmann