Sears and Kmart fashion move of studios to Canal


By Lincoln Anderson

Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Pataki joined Alwyn Lewis, president and C.E.O. of Sears Holding Corporation, in Hudson Square last Thursday to cut the ribbon on 45,000 square feet of new design offices for Sears and Kmart apparel lines.

The company moved its existing design office from Chelsea with 80 employees to One Hudson Square at Canal and Varick Sts., and plans to add 120 new jobs as a result of the move. Sears Holdings is the parent company of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart, making it the nation’s third largest retailer. Using computer-aided design and other techniques, the employees will craft designs for clothing, shoes, accessories and intimate apparel to be sold in the 2,300 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide.

Trinity Church Rector Dr. James Cooper; Carl Weisbrod, Trinity Church Real Estate president; Andrew Alper, Economic Development Corporation president; and Lisa Schultz, Sears Holding Apparel Design executive vice president, also attended the ribbon cutting.

Bloomberg said Sears’s moving to Hudson Square is yet another example of the continued rebirth of Lower Manhattan after the devastating impact of 9/11. He said it’s one of the city’s fastest-growing areas.

“Back in 2001, I don’t think anyone thought we’d have this situation now,” the mayor said. “Ten billion dollars’ worth of public and private construction going on, the occupancy rate down and tourism up; the Tribeca Film Festival has ticket sales up 30 percent from last year.” Bloomberg also cited Lower Manhattan’s residential boom, with a population increase of 10,000 over the last five years.

Pataki said Sears’s presence adds to the continuing diversity of Lower Manhattan.

“We knew when we were bringing Lower Manhattan back, we had to keep it the financial capital,” the governor said. “But we also want it to be a vibrant, 24/7 community. We want it to be diversified.”

One Hudson Square is owned by Trinity Church Real Estate, one of the city’s largest and oldest commercial property owners, with more than 6 million square feet. The 17-story building is also home to the Art Institute of New York City, Morgan Stanley, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Getty Images and Bliss Spa.

“We are delighted the design team for Sears Holding has joined the Trinity family at One Hudson Square,” said Weisbrod. “They add to the creative beehive that is the Lower Hudson Square community.”

Sears Holding C.E.O. Lewis said, “We love what this neighborhood brings…. It’s the vibrancy and the attitude and cultural diversity of the city” that made the company decide to stay in New York, he said.

“If you have intellectual content, you’ll do better here,” said the mayor. “It’s not always the easiest city, it can be aggravating. But if you want to succeed, your company should be in New York City.”