Two years ago, the online fashion retailer Gwynnie Bee had outgrown its Long Island City headquarters. But when larger options in the Flatiron district and Downtown Brooklyn proved too expensive, the company’s chief executive, Christine Hunsicker, decided to double down on the Queens neighborhood that is increasingly attracting New York fashion companies.
Gwynnie Bee, a clothing rental service for plus-size women, moved about a mile last June, to the Factory, a one-million-square-foot warehouse at 30-30 47th Avenue.
Unlike Manhattan, the traditional fashion hub, and Brooklyn, the hip alternative, Long Island City is drawing more in the clothing industry because of its convenient 10-minute subway ride to the garment district in Midtown and low rent. For years, rents have been rising in Manhattan, and now that Brooklyn has established itself among fashion designers as a worthy alternative, rents are rising there, too. So developers are turning aging Long Island City warehouses into airy, modern spaces where tenants can design, assemble, distribute and photograph their merchandise.
“This is just in its infancy,” said Jeffrey I. Peck, an executive managing director of Savills Studley, who is working with three fashion companies looking to lease space in the neighborhood. “Brooklyn started it, in that you don’t need to be located in Manhattan anymore. But I think Long Island City, with its transportation advantage, is quickly rising and becoming not only acceptable, but desirable.”Price and Proximity Draw Fashion Industry to Long Island City
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