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Hotels planned for $33M Garment District site

By Orlando Lee Rodriguez
The Garment district continues its slow transformation as two more properties change hands, the third in as many weeks of 2013.

Massey Knakal announced Friday the $33 million sale of a 25,000 s/f block-through development site made up of two properties, 321-325 West 35th Street and 320-328 West 36th Street.

The seller, Amon Realty Company LLC, had owned the property since 1975 and was represented exclusively by Bob Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal and David Kalish, director of sales.

“The plan is to build a hotel or two on the site,” Knakal told Real Estate Weekly via e-mail. “It is possible to build one on 35th Street and one on 36th Street.”

The buyer was an entity controlled by Lance Steinberg, of Raber Enterprises, listed on ACRIS Records as Landmark Realty LLC.

$18 million in mortgage financing was received from California based Cathay Bank, according to city records.

Both properties sit within the Special Garment Center District Preservation Area P-2 which allow for residential and commercial uses. It is estimated that new construction would be allowed to build up to 165,000 s/f, based on the area’s zoning.

With the transformation of Times Square to the north complete and new, mixed-use developments like Manhattan West and Hudson Yards to the south and west beginning construction, the Garment District, sandwiched between these two areas, is in the middle of an identity change.

The Fashion Center BID has begun a campaign to re-brand the area as a number of new hotels have sprung up and long-standing fashion tenants like Oscar De La Renta and Vera Wang have announced that they are moving out of the district.

The eastern end of the neighborhood has also seen changes as of late,  with the arrival of the luxury residential building, 400 Fifth Avenue on West 36th Street and the 5 star Setai Hotel.

Two weeks ago, Hidrock Realty, which owns 5 buildings within the districts borders, purchased a two story parking garage at 59-61 West 36th Street for $28.5 million.

“We just like buying in the district,” said company president Abraham J. Hidary via telephone. “We have purchased over the last few years, some office businesses and hotel sites. We’re just trying to accumulate real estate there.”

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