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New York City Officials Unveil Plan to Save the Garment District

For the sake of New York's economic health.

The garment manufacturing industry in New York City has lost 95 percent of its workforce since its peak in 1950, but a new plan unveiled by city officials on Monday morning is intended to stanch the flow away from the Big Apple.

"The city's iconic fashion industry is critical to our economic health, and this package represents a new chapter for the century-old fashion cluster... that will reinforce Midtown as one of the city's most vital job centers," said James Patchett, president and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), in a release.

The new plan includes an IDA tax incentive plan meant to support continued clothing manufacturing in the Garment District, which will allow for affordable long-term leases for garment manufacturing and manufacturing-adjacent businesses. In addition, the new plan will curb hotel development in the area and seeks to create a public-private partnership that will acquire a major garment manufacturing-dedicated building nearby.

"After years of effort, we've got a plan that will preserve the heart and soul of the city's iconic Garment District," said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson in a release.

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The news of the new plan comes about a year after the NYCEDC and the CFDA announced investment of millions of dollars in New York's garment industry, some of which went toward creating the Made in NY manufacturing campus in Sunset Park. For the vocal stakeholders who protested that plan because they didn't want to see Manhattan's historic Midtown Garment District obliterated or simply shipped off to Brooklyn, the new plan is likely to be more satisfactory.

"Saving and keeping the Garment District in Manhattan means saving valuable employment opportunities and preserving an industrial ecosystem unique to Midtown Manhattan," New York State Senator Marisol Alcántara said in a release. "Moving production would have meant moving jobs and disconnecting production from fashion education, warehousing and display."

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