LIC Horologist Relocates to Lightstone’s 1407 Broadway as Tower Returns to Garment Industry Roots

Geneva Watch Group is taking its high-end horology operation from the industrial environs of Long Island City to 1407 Broadway, a building in the midst of returning to its garment-industry roots.

When The Lightstone Group bought 1407 Broadway, a 1.1 million-square-foot scraper between 38th and 39th streets, in January ’07 for $122 million, its original plan was to transform the garment district mainstay from showrooms into traditional, and more lucrative, office space.

Lightstone had a change of heart.

“The original intention was to convert to an office building and either relocate garment to a lower portion of the building or relocate [it] all together,” said Grant Greenspan, a principal at the Kaufman Organization, which is marketing the building’s space for Lightstone and its asset manager, Prime Group Realty Trust.  “Obviously, the demand for office space has changed. I was hired to reverse the course,” and to bring in new types of tenants.

During the September Fashion Week, Lightstone relaunched the building with what blog Times Square Gossip described as “a star studded bash” in the tower’s Art Deco lobby. The “stars” included “America’s Next Top Model winners Caridee English and Jaslene Gonzales alongside fashion tycoon Peter Nygard, Art Dealer Andy Valmorbida and former Miss UK Brooke Johnston,” among others.

Mr. Greenspan was named leasing agent in October 2008 and is trying to broaden the spectrum of fashion industry sectors represented in the building. “We have denim, budget apparel, children’s wear and now [accessories], which is a new category for us.” The tower is now about 70 percent full.

Geneva Watch Group signed a 10-year lease for what Mr. Greenspan described as a raw, 33,000-square-foot “vanilla box,” on the fourth floor of the building, with a setback overlooking Broadway. The asking rent was $45 a square foot, though the taking was likely lower, particularly if Mr. Greenspan was to compete with the rents in Long Island City.

Geneva Watch Group intends to transform the setback into a legal deck, Mr. Greenspan said. The Group makes watches for Kenneth Cole, Tommy Bahama, BCBG and Betsey Johnson, among others.

Mr. Greenspan, along with Kaufman’s Mike Heaner, Howard Rosenblum and Sommer Scafidi represented the landlord in the transaction. The Lansco Corporation‘s Steven Kaplan and Jack Walis represented the tenant. LIC Horologist Relocates to Lightstone’s 1407 Broadway as Tower Returns to Garment Industry Roots