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Op-Ed: Lift Garment District Zoning Restrictions

Greg David argues that zoning rules limiting Manhattan's Garment District to manufacturers are obsolete. Without them, underutilized space could be put to better use.
March 30, 2017, 12pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Peter Burka

New York City is considering changes to 1980s zoning rules restricting the uses possible in the Garment District. Here, Greg David makes the case that the situation has been studied long enough.

Claiming that the area's continued industrial viability amounts to so much fake news, David writes, "myths will need to be abandoned and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer must understand that reform isn't being rushed, but rather has been studied forever."

The restrictions date back to Ed Koch's term as mayor. The idea was to clean up then-seedy Times Square and preserve space for apparel businesses. However, "zoning couldn't counteract the global forces sweeping the industry. Today apparel manufacturing jobs in the city have dropped below 14,000, of which about 5,100 are in the district. Buildings are underutilized, and some are deteriorating because landlords have little incentive to invest in them."

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Published on Sunday, March 26, 2017 in Crain's New York Business
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