22496 Fri, 09/02/2011 - 10:57am
“My goal is to catch more eyes with the fact that this is THE textiles building.”
So said Louis Lombardi, president and CEO of Manhattan Properties, owner and manager of 295 Fifth Ave., the long-time home textiles showroom building in Manhattan. Lombardi, who succeeded Claude Litton in January, said the renovations that have taken place under his watch are geared toward making the building more of a destination spot for both vendors and retailers of home textiles.
“I want to get this building on the map for the tenants,” Lombardi said. “This is their home. It should look like the place to be for the industry.”
To that end, among the new features visitors to this month’s New York Home Fashions Market will see are a cleaned-up exterior, an upgraded buyers lounge and two renovated floors, 12 and 14. Another floor, 17, was 90 percent finished in its renovation as of mid-August.
The outside has been entirely powerwashed, and the front of the building will feature awnings over both the Nourison and Kassatex showroom windows. When visitors enter, they will be greeted by floral displays at the entrance to the elevators. The buyers lounge, which Lombardi opened for the March New York Home Fashions Market, will have both men’s and ladies’ rooms, new seating arrangements in the television area and two meeting rooms.
Going forward, Lombardi said 295 “will be a different building with every succeeding market.” Among the projects he has planned for the months ahead are exterior lighting (including lights on the flags on the building’s front) and 295 signs on the columns of the front windows. In addition, the “Textiles Building” engraved over the front entrance will be painted in metallic gold.
Lombardi also said he intends to have 295 decorated for the end-of-the-year holidays. “One of my hopes is to bring this area of Fifth Avenue to life,” he said, speaking in particular about the area between 23rd Street and 34th Street. “I’m hoping that when other buildings see us decorate our building, they’ll get the idea to do the same thing for their buildings.”
As of mid-August, according to Lombardi, 295 is 94 percent occupied. “We’re getting a lot of new blood while keeping the old tenants,” he said. This has happened in spite of the pressures of the economy on the 295 tenants. “You see that consumers are not spending, and this affects retailers, who have nothing in stock,” he said. “And this all affects our tenants.”
Lombardi also said he has kept to his goal of bringing 295 into the 21st century, as he expressed it, including the installation of new technology and wiring for the Internet. “By this time next year, 295 will be an upscale showroom building,” he said.–David Gill