The New York Times said recently that “Gary Barnett, an international diamond trader turned real estate developer, caused an uproar in the diamond district of Midtown Manhattan in 2006 by getting the city to agree to $49.6 million in subsidies for the 40-story commercial tower that he is building amid the aging low and midrise buildings on 47th Street.”
It noted that Mr. Barnett has “stirred fears in the diamond district because he has snapped up several older buildings to the east of his construction site on West 47th Street, where foundation work is under way.”
The article also noted that “as slices of Midtown that catered to fur, flower and toy industries have all but vanished, the diamond district seems increasingly vulnerable. It is sandwiched between office corridors containing some of the costliest space in the country, yet many of its tenants pay a fraction of the rents charged on nearby blocks.
The Diamond Registry has been based on 47th Street for 40 years. We think it is a positive thing for the New York industry to have — as the centers in other countries do — a big tower or building that signifies that 47th Street is the center of the diamond business in America.