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Garment District rezoning gets unanimous City Council approval

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The rezoning relaxes a 1987 rule that required landlords to lease space in the buildings to fashion industry tenants

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On Thursday, City Council voted unanimously to pass a rezoning of the Garment District.

The rezoning relaxes a 1987 rule that required landlords to lease space in the buildings to fashion industry tenants. Landlords will now be able to fully convert their buildings to office space as they see fit.

According to the Commercial Observer, the new zoning has been paired with a number of subsidy programs designed to keep garment makers in place within the neighborhood. One of those new subsidies is the Industrial Development Agency program, which will offer tax abatements to landlords who grant fashion tenants with long-term affordable leases. Additionally, the city will expand a grant program, that offers fashion manufacturers assistance in buying new equipment and conducting renovations, by $14 million. The city will also use $20 million to purchase a building that will provide space to fashion manufacturers at below-market rent prices.

“We’re preserving the city’s fashion manufacturing capacity both in its traditional home in the Garment Center, and with investments across the city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “Today’s vote ensures that the Garment Center will continue to thrive as a mixed-use neighborhood—and that New York City will always be the world’s fashion capital.”

Last August, the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) published the results of a survey circulated among Garment District workers and in it, many suggested that the rezoning, along with the city’s plan to relocate the industry to Sunset Park, would have disastrous affects on the garment manufacturing industry. The findings were based on a small sample of Garment District businesses.