The CFDA is getting closer to saving the garment district, a battle that has gone on almost since Mayor Bloomberg took office. The garment district occupies 10 million square feet, but apparel manufacturers occupy only 1 million square feet. Even so, landlords and real-estate developers want to cash in on that square footage and have been lobbying to secure space for higher-paying tenants and possibly residential buyers. Recently the CFDA has said preserving 250,000 to 500,000 square feet for apparel manufacturing would be an acceptable compromise.
In order to reach a deal, city officials, apparel executives, union leaders, and landlords must approve a plan. WWD reports that union leaders are likely onboard with preserving 300,000 square feet. However, the CFDA, which represents the designers in the talks, hasn’t sat down with building owners or union leaders.
Mayor Bloomberg has voiced his support for preserving the garment district for apparel manufacturing. But the union UNITE HERE’s support of the mayor could be key for him to land a third term in office, and the union is thought to be more interested in securing union jobs in the hospitality industry through the $15 billion Hudson rail-yards development project. Therefore, they could be willing to sacrifice Garment Center jobs for those.
We hope more headway has been made than all of this uncertainty suggests. And that the multi-headed New York City real-estate monster doesn’t eat all the fashion workshops.