City Planning talks about getting rid of the Garment District; also Towers in Brooklyn and Coney Island

The only reason why the Garment industry is still in NY is because of the Garment Center Special District. To call it “anachronistic” is to miss the point completely.

From Crain’s New York Business

NYC readies garment industry for rezoning

By: Anne Michaud
Published: February 14, 2007 – 1:18 pm

In a policy reversal, the Bloomberg Administration will soon unveil a rezoning plan for the garment industry that will relax restrictions on conversion of manufacturing space into offices, Planning Commission Chairman Amanda Burden said Wednesday at a Crain’s New York Business breakfast forum.

The administration had agreed to preserve Garment Center zoning to win textile union support for the conversion of the Hudson Yards from manufacturing to office use. But with apparel industry employment falling, the department of planning will issue a new proposal within a month.

“The Garment Center has perhaps the most anachronistic zoning in the entire city,” Ms. Burden told 600 business leaders. “It’s a bad place to invest in buildings, and it’s not even a good place to work because of the lack of investment.”

City officials will be working with Unite Here and other textile unions, Ms. Burden said, to balance sewing and design uses with affordable, Class B and C office space. She said the plan would rule out residential conversions because of the city’s need for less expensive office space.

The commissioner also, for the first time, publicly opposed construction of residential towers as part of a plan to revitalize the Coney Island amusement park. Thor Equities’ chief executive, Joseph Sitt, wants to give the boardwalk a $2 billion makeover but insists that the residences are needed to make the project work financially. He is seeking a rezoning that would accommodate his project.

“Amusements are incompatible with immediately adjacent residential use,” Ms. Burden said, adding that she nevertheless wants to see Coney Island restored to its iconic amusement park stature.

Towers are more welcome further north in Brooklyn. Ms. Burden said she would consider proposals for new skyscrapers that top the 512-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank, the borough’s tallest building.

Late last year, downtown Brooklyn developer Forest City Ratner Cos. bowed to community objections and agreed to shrink the tallest tower in its $4 billion arena/office tower plan — nicknamed Miss Brooklyn — so that it would not top the bank building. Designed by project architect Frank Gehry, Miss Brooklyn would have risen to 620 feet.

Posted Under: Midtown, Planning, Tower

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