NEW YORK — New York Fashion Space, a project to create a permanent home for apparel manufacturing in Manhattan, has crossed its first fund-raising obstacle.

This story first appeared in the July 8, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The City Council has authorized $1.5 million in capital funding for the plan, according to officials at the Garment Industry Development Corp. and the New York Industrial Retention Network.

The New York Fashion Space proposal calls for the purchase of one or more buildings in Chinatown that would provide low-cost rent for apparel manufacturers and designers. The purpose is to retain industry jobs in a neighborhood were many companies are being squeezed by rising rents and real estate prices.

GIDC executive director Sarah Crean said the funding would allow organizers “to keep going in terms of looking for appropriate buildings, reaching out to other companies and kind of laying the infrastructure and groundwork for the project.”

The $1.5 million wouldn’t be enough to purchase the 300,000 square feet of space called for in the project. Supporters of New York Fashion Space last year petitioned the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. for a $25 million grant. The LMDC was created by Gov. George E. Pataki and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to help rebuild the neighborhood after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed 2,749 people.

The LMDC hasn’t yet made a decision on the request. Fashion Space backers say the project would help create jobs in Chinatown, which was economically hard hit by the attack because security cordons kept much of the neighborhood closed to traffic for months. The project would help generate 2,500 industry jobs, $130.4 million in annual wages and $11.7 million in annual city tax revenue, according to supporters.

Other groups supporting the projected are the union UNITE and Asian Americans for Equality. GIDC’s other job-retention efforts include running a training center in its Chinatown offices.