New $100 Million NY Forward Program builds on momentum of the successful downtown revitalization initiative
Governor Kathy Hochul on Feb 15 announced that the Garment District will receive $4.5 million in funding as one of the New York City region winners of the first round of NY Forward. Building on the momentum of the State’s successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the $100 million NY Forward program adopts the same “Plan-then-Act” strategy as the DRI to support a more equitable recovery for New York’s communities. As part of NY Forward Round One, two to three awards will be made to communities in each of the state’s ten economic development regions to support development and implementation of revitalization plans for their downtowns.
“We are weaving a collaborative future for industry, transportation and tourism in the Garment District,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to announce the Garment District as one of New York City region winners of $4.5 million in NY Forward funding. This investment will enhance the fashion capital of the world with placemaking and public realm improvements that will guide the way through the district’s next century.”
NY Forward is a central component of the State’s economic development efforts, working together with DRI to accelerate and expand the revitalization of New York’s downtowns and commercial corridors. NY Forward communities serve the immediate local residents and are more local in nature, as opposed to communities typically funded through DRI that focus on amenities and attractions that serve the regional community. For the New York City region, NY Forward communities are BID-scale business districts where projects are developed with input from local residents.
Like DRI, each NY Forward community will develop a Strategic Investment Plan that includes a slate of readily implementable projects. The Department of State will provide enhanced technical assistance to better support those communities with less internal capacity as part of the NY Forward program and fund projects appropriately scaled to the size of each community. Projects may include building renovation and redevelopment, new construction or creation of new or improved public spaces and other projects that elevate specific cultural, and historical qualities that enhance the feeling of small-town charm.
The Garment District is strategically located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, among New York City’s busiest transportation hubs and most iconic landmarks. The Garment District was built for the apparel industry nearly 100 years ago and today it is home to an eclectic mix of uses. It is a center for commerce and tourism, which makes it an important economic engine for Midtown Manhattan. The Garment District is among the least populated neighborhoods in New York City, but following a recent rezoning, the district was emerging from its past as a 20th century manufacturing hub to a modern center for commerce and a destination for tourism. Because of its dependence on office workers and tourism, however, the district was devastated when COVID-19 shuttered offices and emptied hotels.