September 24, 2022
  • September 24, 2022

When the textile industry was driven out of the textile building

By on April 29, 2022 0

The era of working from home has proven to be a boon for textile companies. Remote workers started sprucing up their homes, especially after stimulus checks arrived. Adding to the good fortune, small Midtown landlords, hungry for commercial tenants after their buildings began to empty out during the lockdown, wooed 295 evicted tenants with reduced rents.

Over time, many tenants moved into buildings within a 12-block radius. Several gravitated to 230 Fifth Avenue, at the corner of 27th Street, another showroom building. Others made their way up town.

Welspun, an India-based textile conglomerate, moved into 10 West 33rd, a well-known fashion accessories building; its new space, with a huge, elaborate fireplace, was once the office and penthouse dining room of John Jacob Astor IV. Other companies have also rented space in the building.

Amir Loloi, the owner of Texas-based Loloi Rugs, took another approach by purchasing an entire 12-story building at 260 Fifth Avenue in hopes of creating his own mini textile building. Oriental Weavers, an area rug manufacturer that’s been at 295 Fifth Avenue for more than 20 years, occupied the top two floors.

It turns out that much of the textile construction diaspora simply landed a few blocks north.

Some companies, however, have moved out of town altogether. Lichtenberg, a curtain maker, ended up in Great Neck, Long Island. Scott Goldstein, its chairman, lives nearby and his partner has a home in Westchester, so they decided to skip the drive to town.

For the recent market week this spring, Mr. Goldstein’s company took temporary space in the city, as did other former tenants at 295 Fifth Avenue who have not yet committed to new permanent homes. Company executives said they had heard no complaints from retailers about having to move from building to building. “Everyone is so excited to be back in person, they were almost giddy,” said Mr Kambak, of the band Trident.

But the fact that some businesses have had fewer visits from buyers may suggest that the time spent from building to building could have adverse consequences.