The Law office of Gary J. Wachtel has been representing landlords and tenants in the NYC Garment District more than 35 years; so much so that several years ago we moved our office into the Garment District, for amongst other reasons, the convenience of our clientele. Our beautiful offices are located at 450 Seventh Avenue, also known as Fashion Avenue, on the corner of 34th Street, in one of the tallest buildings in the Garment District. We represent several prominent landlords and management companies of commercial buildings in the neighborhood, as well as small, family run buildings owners too. Additionally, we represent innumerable tenants in the Fashion District who continue to use us for their needs ranging from lease review and negotiation, collection of unpaid invoices, transfer of shareholder and partnership interests, defense of commercial claims, contract drafting and personal matters of principals and employees. It is not uncommon for a client to call and ask for an immediate consultation to discuss a problem, issue or prospective business deal. We make ourselves available to our clients and that is the bottom line.
The Garment District, also known as the Garment Center, the Fashion District, or the Fashion Center, is a neighborhood located in Manhattan, where the dense concentration of fashion-related uses give the neighborhood, which is generally considered to lie between Fifth Avenue and Ninth Avenue, from 34th to 42nd Street, its name. The Garment District has been known since the early 20th century as the center for fashion manufacturing and fashion design in the United States, and even the world. Less than one square mile in area, the neighborhood is home to the majority of New York’s showrooms and to numerous major fashion labels, and caters to all aspects of the fashion process from design and production to wholesale selling.
New York City is arguably the fashion capital of the United States and the entire world. The core of the industry is Manhattan’s Garment District, where the majority of New York City’s major fashion labels operate showrooms and execute the fashion process from design and production to wholesaling. The Garment District is home to a number of well-known designers, their production facilities, warehouses, showrooms, and suppliers of fabric and materials. Many in the industry allege that this dense concentration of talent, entrepreneurship and supply stores functions like an ecosystem in which each of the parts help sustain the whole.
The decline of the manufacturing sector has proven to be a serious problem for the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. In 1987, the Special Garment Center District zoning (SGCD) was enacted by the City to help preserve garment manufacturing. The zoning places manufacturing use restrictions on large portions of the district in an effort to keep manufacturing rents affordable. However, the City’s use of zoning as a job retention tool did not achieve its goal, and landlords and tenant are finding that the buildings are equally well-suited for office use of non-garment manufacturing businesses. Still, zoning restrictions, sometimes are an obstacle to the desire by both landlord and tenant to rent space in a building for non-garment manufacturing purposes. We, at the Law Office of Gary J. Wachtel, have litigated this issue. There may be a requirement to obtain certification to use a portion of the building for non-apparel production from the chairperson of the City Planning Commission. There are cases which hold that where a tenant seeks to correct a technical violation, a landlord should co-operate with the tenant in his attempts to remedy the situation in order to avoid a forfeiture of the tenancy. There are many organizations working hard to keep this district vital. One such organization is The Fashion Center Business Improvement District (also known as The Fashion Center or the Fashion Center BID). This non-profit organization works hard to sustain and improve upon the vibrancy and vitality of Midtown Manhattan’s Fashion District by promoting the area as a strategic business location for fashion and non-fashion related business alike.