For immediate release
February 28, 2007
Edgar Romney, Executive Vice President, UNITE HERE; May Y. Chen, Vice President, UNITE HERE; and the New York Metropolitan Area Joint Board
- City government must take an active role in encouraging creative solutions to the rezoning effort that will preserve the character of the neighborhood and the livelihood of fashion industry–production and suppliers must be a key part of that. In order to keep New York as an international fashion center, we must find ways to retain the production and manufacturing that moves the fashion industry. The zoning should recognize the importance of the team–designers, sample rooms, production and suppliers–to the industry and the city.
- The City should be extremely concerned with the 5,000 garment workers in the fashion district. These workers make runway dresses for fashion week, school uniforms, business suits and other formal wear. These workers are largely immigrant residents or citizens of New York City who pay taxes and contribute to New York’s economic growth.
- Actual manufacturing space in the garment district has declined precipitously—from 6 million square feet originally zoned in 1986 to just 1 million in use today—thanks to over 2 decades of lax enforcement. Rezoning should take a holistic approach driven by a clear plan that values the area’s history and New York’s fashion industry.
- We support the creation and maintenance of a cluster of manufacturing or a “fashion district” in order to maximize the industry’s potential in the area. Such a cluster would also provide new opportunities for growth and makes it easier for the city to monitor and enforce zoning regulations.
- If manufacturers and suppliers are asked to relocate, this relocation must be tied to real up-front financial incentives that make relocation viable. Support for relocation must be coupled with a real marketing plan to help ensure the district’s success.
- The 100 remaining Chinatown manufacturers should be brought into the midtown garment zone or provided the same incentives as other dislocated businesses. Businesses displaced from P-2 as developers begin to respond to the Hudson Yards rezoning incentives should also be taken into account.