By  on June 7, 1994

NEW YORK -- Negotiations are under way to secure Bryant Park as the site for 7th on Sixth for the next several seasons.

Organizers are working to put the final touches on a contract before July that would call for staging the New York designer collections at the park over the next two or three years, according to Dan Biederman, executive director of the Bryant Park Restoration Corp.

Located on Sixth Avenue between West 40th and 42nd Streets, the park was the site of the first two editions of 7th on Sixth in November 1993 and last April.

"We've never had an agreement this early but we hope to have one pretty soon," Biederman said. "We're in favor of a two- or three-year agreement. The CFDA has indicated they'd rather not go through negotiations each year and frankly, we'd rather not either."

Fern Mallis, the Council of Fashion Designers of America's executive director, said Monday that 7th on Sixth organizers considered alternative sites, but Bryant Park remains its target. She said the other sites were only investigated as backups, since the deal with Bryant Park is expected. Mallis declined to comment on the number of alternatives or their locations. "Bryant Park is where we want to be, and it's where we want the industry to be," Mallis said.

Before an agreement can be reached, a number of parties -- including the New York Public Library and Ark Restaurants Corp. of New York, which plans to open a new restaurant in the park in October -- must give their stamp of approval, Mallis said. Set to be located behind the library on the southern side of the park, the 5,000-square-foot restaurant might also be site for fashion and media events throughout the year, according to Michael Weinstein, president of Ark Restaurants.

Mallis said a one-year agreement was signed last year to see how the logistics worked.

"Now we know every inch of Bryant Park," she said. "And we know how to work there."

However, she said it is unlikely that anything more extended -- such as a five-year contract -- would be sought in the future.

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