FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, GOVERNOR PATAKI AND SEARS HOLDINGS CORPORATION CUT RIBBON ON NEW DESIGN OFFICES FOR SEARS AND KMART APPAREL IN LOWER MANHATTAN
Sears to More Than Double Its Design Workforce with Addition of 120 New Employees
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Governor George E. Pataki and Sears Holdings Corporation President & CEO Aylwin B. Lewis today cut the ribbon on Sears Holdings' new design offices for its apparel lines in Lower Manhattan. The company moved its existing design office from Chelsea and about 80 employees to One Hudson Square, and it plans to add more than 120 new jobs as a result of the move. Sears Holdings is the parent company of Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart, making it the third largest retailer in the nation. Trinity Church Rector Dr. James H. Cooper, Trinity Church President of Real Estate Carl Weisbrod, Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Andrew M. Alper and Executive Vice President of Sears Holdings Apparel Design Lisa Schultz also attended the ribbon cutting event at the new office.
"Diversifying our economy by developing a wide array of industries that can take advantage of New York City's uniquely talented workforce is an important part of our Administration's economic development strategy, and the growing number of companies locating their creative offices here is a terrific example," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Sears' commitment to move its apparel design functions downtown and double its workforce is a strong boost for the local economy and the latest sign that the Hudson Square area of Lower Manhattan is fast becoming a center of commercial creativity and that all of Lower Manhattan is thriving. Commercial activity downtown over the past year has led to a drop in Lower Manhattan's total office vacancy rate to 11.4%, down from 12.5% a year ago."
"The decision to move the offices of the Sears Holdings Corporation reinforces Lower Manhattan's destiny as a world-class central business district and the financial capital of the world," said Governor Pataki. "This vibrant, 24-hour community will benefit from the additional 120 jobs Sears plans to create. I would like to thank the Sears Holdings Corporation for their commitment to downtown and their contribution to the revitalization of Lower Manhattan."
The new office at One Hudson Square is about 45,000 square feet and represents an enormous increase over the 3,500-square-foot office the design office occupied previously in Chelsea.
Sears' new office will house apparel designers, technical designers, CAD and graphics artists, who will work on designs for clothes, accessories, shoes and intimate apparel for both Sears and Kmart. The products designed will be sold in more than 2,300 stores throughout the country including 140 in New York State and 12 in New York City. The company employs about 18,000 store associates and service technicians in New York State and more than 2,000 in New York City.
"Over the years, the City has been home to Kmart's design team, and following the merger of Sears and Kmart, we thought it was important to remain in New York - not only because of the world class pool of talent here, but because of the City's vibrancy and entrepreneurial spirit," said Sears Holdings CEO Lewis. "Inspired by the creativity and culture of Lower Manhattan, our apparel design chief Lisa Schultz and her team will create designs for apparel, accessories and shoes that will appear in our Sears and Kmart stores across the nation."
The Hudson Square area of Lower Manhattan is increasingly attracting companies in the creative and design sectors. Sears Holdings' new design office joins a host of creative companies that have located in the area recently, such as Frog Design, Impact Digital photography, Warner Brothers and Rafael Vinoly Architects. A number of publishing companies have taken space in the area within the last year including Cambridge University Press, Nature Publishing Group, Workman Publishing and Time Inc.'s Real Simple magazine, joining Penguin Group's Putnam and Viking divisions. Since 2005, more than 20 companies have leased upwards of 750,000 square feet of office space in the Hudson Square area.
One Hudson Square is owned by The Parish of Trinity Church, one of New York City's largest and oldest commercial property owners, with more than six million square feet. The 17-story building is home to a variety of tenants, including the Art Institute of New York City, Morgan Stanley, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Getty Images and Bliss Spa. It won The Office Building of the Year (TOBY) award for "Renovated Building of the Year" in 2001-2002.
"We are delighted that the design team for Sears Holding has joined the Trinity family at One Hudson Square," said Weisbrod. "They add to the creative beehive that is the Hudson Square community. The thriving real estate activity here also helps Trinity Church, a pillar of New York for more than 300 years, sustain its important mission of serving those in need, whether around the corner or around the world."
Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Joanna Rose (Governor) (212) 681-4640
Chris Brathwaite (Sears) (847) 286-4681
Diane Reed (Trinity Church) (212) 602-0613
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