Barneys Plans to Reclaim Its Chelsea Spot and Grow Downtown by 2017

December 18th, 2013

Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Instances

The Chelsea department of Barneys New York in 1997, the calendar year it shut.

Twenty years right after it decamped to its shiny bauble of a keep on Madison Avenue, and 17 many years after leaving its landmark Chelsea location in the fingers of a price cut retailer and later on a museum specializing in the art of the Himalayas, Barneys New York is heading back house.

Barneys executives are anticipated to announce on Thursday that by 2017 they will reopen a downtown department in the store’s original place at Seventh Avenue and West 17th Avenue, taking again the room now occupied by Loehmann’s, which is in individual bankruptcy proceedings. Mark Lee, the chief executive of Barneys, mentioned the downtown place will take up five flooring and roughly fifty seven,000 square ft.

Loehmann’s is expected to near all its stores soon. In courtroom papers, attorneys for the chain mentioned, “a liquidation of the debtors’ whole retail procedure is the best solution for maximizing stakeholder recovery.”

The Rubin Museum of Artwork, which is in component of the old Barneys space, will not be affected by the move, people involved in the transaction said.

Richard Perry, the hedge fund supervisor whose company, Perry Capital, has owned a managing stake in Barneys given that 2012, explained that the chance of returning to seventeenth Avenue was very first introduced up by Mr. Lee a lot more than a calendar year back. Originally, Mr. Perry explained, he was not in favor of the concept.

“The cause this organization got in difficulties is due to the fact they borrowed as well considerably for true estate to create shops,” he said.

But a variety of items turned him around to the concept.

First, Mr. Perry stated, Barneys has posted document sales this year, 1 in which the luxury industry has knowledgeable huge expansion. The Madison Avenue keep, he mentioned, is submitting “the most significant quantities we have at any time carried out.”

And the lease in Chelsea for business genuine estate is nevertheless reasonably low cost in comparison with SoHo and the meatpacking district, even as luxurious condominium buildings like Walker Tower (on West 18th Avenue) and the St. Vincent’s Healthcare facility advancement project (at the north conclude of the West Village) are springing up practically by the working day and bringing in consumers at document charges.

“When Barneys shut there 17 many years in the past, it was a really diverse world there,” Mr. Perry mentioned. “Now, condos are likely for $ three,000 to $ four,000 a sq. foot.”

At the very same time, there is small competition in Chelsea and its surrounding neighborhoods, aside from Jeffrey and Scoop in the meatpacking district, and a handful of little specialty stores on Eighth Avenue, like Camouflage.

Designers undoubtedly appear enthusiastic about the store’s return to its first downtown location.

“I consider it is the ideal concept,” explained Diane von Furstenberg. “It’s so excellent. They must never ever have deserted the Chelsea retailer, and this will bring them very good luck due to the fact they are likely back again to their DNA.”

George Malkemus, the president of Manolo Blahnik, explained: “Manolo and I are more than the moon. For me it stood for New York lengthy before SoHo and the meatpacking district. It was the sexiest spot to store.”

Barneys New York 1st moved into Chelsea in 1923, when Barney Pressman pawned his wife’s engagement ring for $ 500 and opened a tiny shop specializing in discounted men’s fits. By the time he retired in 1975, it had grown to many floors and was carrying out $ 35 million a calendar year in company, according to Joshua Levine’s book, “The Rise and Tumble of the Residence of Barneys.”

Barney’s son, Fred, took over and began giving women’s outfits and a lot more designer dress in by youthful designers like Giorgio Armani, whose monochromatic pantsuits have been offered in the United States only on West seventeenth Street at the time.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, below Fred’s son Gene, the keep became synonymous with the image of New York propagated in the novel “Bright Lights, Big Metropolis.” Designers with challenging-to-pronounce final names like Kawakubo and Fujiwara have been all the rage, but the factor that stored the keep in organization was pairing their wares with operate clothing, giving the ordinary fit purchaser the illusion he was someway doing some thing edgy merely by buying at Barneys.

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