They are a throwback to another era.
The city’s four carriage horse stables have withstood waves of real estate development, recessions, the Great Depression, and, of course, the invention of the automobile.
But now the stable owners are in crisis, caught between a desire to hang on to their horsing tradition — and Mayor de Blasio’s vow to abolish the carriage horse industry.
None of the stable owners, all of whom have been in the horse-carriage business for decades, want to sell their properties, but with their industry under siege from City Hall, they may have no choice but to start answering calls from brokers eager to put the buildings on the market.
So far, owners of the four remaining stables, on the far West Side in Midtown, have resisted offers from real estate investors.
....They’ve pointed fingers at Steve Nislick, a former real estate and parking garage magnate who has financed NYCLASS, the driving force behind the horse ban.
The theory goes that Nislick wants the largest stable, on W. 52nd St., to build a parking garage at the site.
“He just doesn’t want us to own these buildings,” said Cornelius Byrne, the owner of a stable at 547 W. 37th St. “He’s envious. He feels like they should be in someone else’s hands, maybe his or maybe his friend’s.”
Nislick strongly denies the allegation.
“I have no interest in this real estate,” he said in a statement to The News. “Even if someone offered me the chance to buy this real estate, I would say no.”
But there is no shortage of real estate developers who would have interest in the properties.
The largest stable is a 34,823-square-foot building facing DeWitt Clinton Park at 612 W. 52nd St., which houses 79 carriage horses and is owned by a cooperative of 15 carriage drivers, all of whom pooled their money in 2003 to buy the building for $4 million — ironically, with help from City Hall.
....Brokers said selling now would probably get McHugh and his fellow drivers the best deal, but it would also mean risking everything they’ve built on the assumption that de Blasio will succeed in pushing his bill through the City Council.
“I don’t want to sell it out from under myself and then realize it’s not going through,” McHugh said. “Then, I would have put myself out of business.”
Owners of the other two Manhattan stables face a different, and more urgent, dilemma.
Their stables are located in the blazing-hot Hudson Yards district in the far W. 30s, close to where real estate giant the Related Cos. is building a 16-skyscraper megaproject with thousands of condos and brand-new mixed office/retail buildings. The new 7 line subway extension is also slated to open just blocks away, adding value to all the real estate in the area.