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FloMa's Slow Decay to 'Sterile Swath'

MUG tosses a bouquet to Manhattan's Flower Market today, noting the district's passing:

Eviction notices have just gone out to merchants along 28th Street, marking the final chapter in the long demise of the flower district... Some merchants have the deed to those walls and they may continue to operate out of buildings they own for a period of time. But with new high-rises such as the Remy underway, and a new luxury hotel to come, it's seems unlikely at this late date that a flower district will remain in that location – or any location in Manhattan. With the flea market relocated to Hell's Kitchen and the flower district's disintegration, it appears inevitable that this stretch of 6th Avenue will become a bedroom community mirror to upper Sixth Avenue's business towers, a sterile swath where there was once something vibrant and unpredictable, something essentially New York.

Sad but true—and indeed a decline that's been under way for a while. Yesterday's Sun story about real estate mania in FloMa noted this fun fact: "Last week, Herald Square Development purchased an entire block front on the west side of Sixth Avenue between 30th and 31st streets for $117.5 million, or $352 a buildable square foot"... or 4,895,833 bunches of roses. After the jump, a bit more from the Sun on FloMa's past and future in development terms. Meantime, we'll join MUG remembering what was.
· Flower District R.I.P. [MUG]
· Flower District Experiences a New Kind of Growth [NYSun, sub req'd]
· Flower District Fades [NYTimes via WiredNY]

· Flower Market District History [The Big Apple]
In the 1970s, the chairman of Macklowe Properties, Harry Macklowe, whose firm owns more than 7 million square feet of prime office space, was a broker with the firm Wolf & Macklowe, and at the time sold a number of properties to a clothing manufacturer named Leonard Adell. Mr.Adell began assembling parcels in the manufacturing and flower shop district on Sixth Avenue. In 1995, Sixth Avenue between 24th and 31st streets was rezoned for residential. In 1999 Matthew Adell, in partnership with the Witkoff Group, bought three sites assembled by Leonard Adell on Sixth Avenue between 25th and 28th streets. In 2001, Mr. Adell and Witkoff completed the construction of the Capitol at Chelsea, a 37-story, 387-unit residential rental apartment tower atop 83,000 square feet of retail and office space on the first four floors at 55 W. 26th St. The building replaced the Coogan Building, which was originally constructed in the mid-1870s as a racquet club. A few years later they sold the building and bought the land where a residential rental building, the Chelsea Tower, sits at West 26th Street and Avenue of the Americas, then subsequently sold the property. In 2004, Adellco completed its next residential tower, a 38-story, 266-unit rental apartment building, the Aston, at 800 Sixth Ave. Last August, Adellco sold the building for $195 million to the national REIT Archstone Smith. This past January, Adellco began excavation work on its newest residential development in the former flower district. This project, is named the Remy and is located at 101 W. 28th St., on the northwest corner of Sixth Avenue. The 32-story condominium tower is expected to be completed in 2007.