NEW YORK — The Fashion Center Business Improvement District is headed into its 2005 fiscal year with a $515,000 surplus that BID officials plan to use to help complete their “streetscape” project and spiff up the neighborhood.
At the FCBID’s annual meeting Wednesday night, finance committee chairman Martin Meyer said the organization had a $4.5 million budget plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
Barbara Randall, executive director, said the BID was renewing its “Make a Grand Entrance” program, which offers 50 grants of $1,000 each to property owners and stores who renovate their street-level building fronts. She said the BID, which is funded by a stipend on district property taxes, was preparing to release a new neighborhood directory, with details on restaurants and theaters.
In recent years, BID officials have been lobbying the city to revise zoning rules that set aside half the space in side-street buildings for manufacturing in the district, which generally runs from Fifth to Ninth Avenues, encompassing West 35th to West 41st Streets. The BID argues that international trade policy — not real-estate pressures — is driving manufacturers out of the neighborhood. Randall said with city officials focused on a plan to develop a sports stadium to the west of the district, it has been difficult to get official support for a zoning change.
At the meeting, the U.S. Commerce Department presented the BID with a Certificate of Appreciation of Achievement in Trade. Anastasia Xenias, senior international trade specialist at Commerce, said, “When we have a request for American apparel or textiles, the first place we direct them to is fashioncenter.com or the Fashion Center kiosk.”