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City to Invest $136M For Fashion, Film and Food Campus in Sunset Park

By Jeff Mays | February 14, 2017 5:55pm
 The city will spend $136 million to renovate two rundown buildings at Bush Terminal, creating a campus where textiles will be created, movie and television shows filmed and food manufactured.
City to Invest $136M For Fashion, FIlm and Food Campus in Sunset Park
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SUNSET PARK — The city will spend $136 million to renovate two rundown buildings at Bush Terminal, creating a campus where textiles will be created, movie and television shows filmed and food manufactured.

The plan, which Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed as part of his 2017 State of the City speech Monday, is expected to create a 100,000 square foot film and television production studio and 200,000 square foot garment production space that will support 1,800 permanent and good-paying jobs.

The project, called the Made in NY campus, is part of de Blasio's pledge to create 40,000 jobs that pay $50,000 and up over the next four years, and to eventually create 100,000 such jobs over the next decade to help New Yorkers struggling to afford one of the most expensive housing markets in the country.

►READ MORE: Mayor Promises 40,000 New Jobs in 4 Years at State of the City Speech

The mayor, who is running for re-election this year, has pegged the plan as the natural extension of his affordable housing plan.

"Folks got used to struggling just to get by. We want something better for people," said de Blasio.

Details on where the 40,000 jobs will come from are still sketchy.

But city officials said they have identified key industries, such as television and film, textile and garment production and the life sciences that could produce thousands of jobs that pay well with infrastructure help from the city.

The city also plans to produce thousands of jobs by training New Yorkers to retrofit buildings to meet new, green environmental standards.

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said manufacturing companies often tell her their biggest constraint to expanding is affordable space. Julie Menin, commissioner of media and entertainment, said the many companies want to do production in the city but don't have the space.

There were 336 feature films shot in the city last year, a 40 percent increase from the year before. Episodic television shows also saw a 13 percent jump in production here.

The 182,000 jobs in the fashion industry make up 5 percent of the city's workforce. And average pay in the fashion industry is $57,000 while the average film industry salary is $53,000.

The money the city is investing will also be used to upgrade utilities in the area along with plaza and pedestrian spaces. The campus is planned to open in 2020 and would likely draw companies from the Garment District looking to expand.

April Johnson, designer founder of the womenswear line Alasdair, exclusively manufactures her clothing in New York. She said she was excited about the opportunity to expand her businesses locally.

"I like to know who's making my garments. I think my customers would like to know who's sewing their clothes," said Johnson.

"When people think about fashion they often think about runway models or glamor," she added. "But this is an industry that's really based on hard-working men and women who are cutting the patterns, who are sewing the clothes, and they need to make good wages."