New York Diamond Tower Unveiled

When completed the tower will look like in the photo above (artistic remake). Photo credit Extell Development Company

On Tuesday 19th May, New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg unveiled a new 32-storied diamond tower and 750,000 sq feet. New York is a one of the leading centers of the gem ,diamond and jewelry trade and it is thought that the tower will keep it competitive in this sector. It is also thought to keep the diamond industry at par with other rapidly developing diamond centers such as Dubai, which has already built one.

The tower is officially named as the International Gem Tower.

The tower still at the basement level of construction is to be built in the famous jewelry district of New York at 50W. 47th street between the 5th and 6th avenues.

The mastermind of the project is Gary Barnett ,a former Belgian diamond trader. He is also the founder of Extell Development Company.

Although the project was brought forward three years ago, there were numerous delays in getting permits issued. There were also numerous complaints from the neighbors due to the excessive height of the building. There was also objection from nearby landlords and tenants to a proposed $37.5 million 10 year subsidy package from the City’s Industrial Development Agency (IDA) after proposal from the Economic Development Corporation of New York City (EDC) in the form of excemption from sale and use taxes from the city and state and exemption from mortagage recording taxes.The nearby landlords and tenants argued that the proposed subsidy will lower the rents, which will in turn be an incentive for tenants from buildings nearby to move into the new tower. Important terms and conditions of the subsidy include that 85% of the tenants must be diamond and jewelry business related and 50% must be businesses new to New York or expansion of previously established businesses in New York.

According to the New York daily news the international gem tower is estimated to create about 1000 jobs in the construction sector and about 3000 permanent jobs in the jewelry industry.

President of Extell Gary Barnett said “We have to be bold and forward thinking if we have to compete with Shanghai and Dubai. It is going to attract manufacturers and retailers from around the world “.

The architect of the building is Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Tishman construction is the construction manager for the tower. The building is to have two separate entrances, one on 47th street for jewelry tenants and the other on 46th street for commercial tenants. The height of the building when completed was reduced to 32 from 41 due to failure of Extell to negotiate a deal to transfer additional air rights.

Funding for the first phase of the project was from the personal money from the developer himself (US$ 300 million).

84 of the 88 commercial units reserved for the diamonds/jewelry are for sale. The developer hopes to sign deals with banks, jewelry merchants to obtain construction loans by the end of the year.

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