The Antiques Garage, which has been on West 25th Street and Sixth Avenue for two decades, will close for good on June 29 to make way for a hotel tower.
BY ADRIANNE PASQUARELLI
JUNE 13, 2014 2:29 P.M.
After two decades of business and several last-minute reprieves, Chelsea’s Antiques Garage has finally set a closure date. The flea market, which began in a parking lot on West 25th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues in 1993, will operate its last weekend on June 28. The site will be developed into a hotel tower.
“After 20 years, we are sad to see the Garage fall to development,” said Alan Boss, known as “Lord of the Fleas” and the founder of Annex Markets, the owner of Antiques Garage and several other bazaars. He noted that he will still operate an outdoor space in Chelsea at a sister site called the West 25th Street Market, located half a block away. About 90% of Antiques Garage vendors will move to the sister market, and several vendors will also relocate to a flea market in Hell’s Kitchen.
Issues first arose for Antiques Garage back in 2008, when the market was nearly pushed out of its longtime space by rising rents and the changing Chelsea neighborhood. At the time, the area was just starting to see big-name retailers such as David’s Bridal setting up shop.
Yet the market was able to stay on at its site on a month-to-month basis as Extell Development, the owner of the parking-lot property, faced financial problems. Last year, Extell, which was in danger of foreclosure on the site, sold the property for a reported $67.5 million to hotel developer John Lam. Mr. Lam plans to spend $300 million to erect a 270,000-square-foot hotel tower at the space. Chelsea has also seen the recent arrival of popular grocer Fairway, and in 2017, high-end department store Barneys will open in the space previously occupied by Loehmann’s.
According to brokers, retail rents along West 25th Street currently range from $75 to $90 a square foot.
“This whole area is rapidly changing,” said Aaron Gavios, chief executive of Square Foot Realty, which markets space in Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. “Schlock is on the way out, and the trendy clothing boutique and restaurant scene is on the way in.”