The apparel industries in the Garment District say that they will be destroyed if the proposal by the de Blasio administration to rezone the area passes. The demise is already in progress by the looks of the current tenants in the area.
According to Crain’s News, “Six landlords own one-third of the district’s 25 million square feet between West 35th and West 40th streets and Ninth Avenue and Broadway, according to brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield: The Chetrit Group, Empire State Realty Trust, George Comfort & Sons, the Kaufman Organization, Newmark Holdings and W.P. Carey. Their properties are filled with a hodgepodge of tenants, many of whom have nothing to do with the fashion industry.
None of the landlords is on record opposing the rezoning, and none would really benefit from its key—and most controversial—aspect: the end of a 30-year-old regulation intended to protect manufacturers by requiring any office conversion to preserve or create an equal amount of industrial space.”
Owning 2.04 million square feet, the largest landlord in the area is Empire State Realty Trust. Its major property is located at 1400 Broadway, The 686,000-square-foot building includes apparel retailers Burlington Coat Factory and Kohl’s corporate offices. However, engineering and management consultant Mott MacDonald, marketing giant Interpublic Group, VeriFone Systems and small-business lender OnDeck lease the majority of the space.
The area’s second largest landlord is the Chetrit Group with 1.28 million square feet of property in the neighborhood. Chetrit’s building located at 512 Seventh Avenue spans 502,960-square-feet , wand doesn’t have any major fashion tenants to speak of The Levy Group, a manufacturer for Nautica and Vera Wang, relocated from 512 Seventh Avenue to 1333 Broadway earlier this year. 1333 Broadway is one of Empire State Realty’s properties.
With the decrease in clothes manufacturing jobs in the district, the de Blasio administration says that it is inevitable that mix of tenants will become more and more diverse. In 1987, there were 30,000 apparel-related jobs when the current zoning rules were imposed by the city; over the last 30 years that number has fallen to about 5,100.
By Charles Bernstein