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Mission-Driven Development Opportunity Released for Manhattan’s Garment Center

October 25, 2018

Innovative Strategy by NYC Economic Development Corporation to Protect Jobs in Fashion Manufacturing

The New York City Economic Development Corporation’s (NYCEDC) recently released a funding opportunity for a mission-driven developer to preserve job-creation opportunities in Manhattan's Garment District. This new program will address some of the impact of real estate speculation in the historic manufacturing facilities of Manhattan’s Garment Center area. The Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) is proposing to make available up to $20 million in city funding to fund a portion of the acquisition cost of a proposed building in the Garment Center district in Manhattan - the historic hub of garment manufacturing in New York City. The Garment District RFEI is a significant move that will allow a non-profit mission-driven developer team to preserve and strengthen fashion manufacturing in the Garment Center as a vital anchor of the City’s manufacturing sector. 

The program release comes at a time when the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) is proposing a zoning text amendment that would eliminate manufacturing preservation requirements in the Garment District and allow many existing property owners to receive proper certificates of occupancy for their current non-conforming uses. The Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) was started on June 11, 2018 and recently sent to the City Planning Commission.

A successful mission-driven development team responding to the RFEI would leverage the $20 million investment by the City of New York and could theoretically purchase and rehabilitate a building with an estimated total development cost of $150 million, or scale their ambitions to acquire a condo share of several floors in an existing manufacturing facility. In either scenario the goal of the RFEI is to preserve and strengthen quality jobs in manufacturing in our urban center.

The new program complements the NYCEDC’s relaunch of the Industrial Developer Fund. These recent actions by the NYCEDC have underscored NYCEDC’s partnership in combating industrial speculation by supporting non-profit mission-driven developers to acquire industrial properties that keep rents affordable for manufacturing tenants and maximize the opportunity to preserve and expand quality manufacturing jobs.

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