Apparel firm Ralph Rucci leaves Soho for Chelsea expansion

By Adam Pincus | April 22, 2013 05:30PM

Clothing designer Ralph Rucci is tripling its office, manufacturing and showroom space and leaving its Soho location behind for a full-floor loft in Chelsea.

The luxury clothing designer is moving from about 5,000 square feet on the sixth floor of 536 Broadway, an office building at Spring Street, to 16,820 square feet on the second floor of 151 West 26th Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues, Travis Wilson, an associate at brokerage firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, told The Real Deal.

The move, expected later next month, comes during a broader retooling of the brand under turnaround specialist CEO Jeffrey Aronsson, who joined in 2012. The company, which sells clothing designed by Ralph Rucci, is lowering its prices by about 40 percent to 50 percent as it seeks to expand its retail distribution in specialty stores, which now include Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In addition, Rucci announced this month that the company would shorten its name from Chado Ralph Rucci to Ralph Rucci. The firm declined to comment on the relocation.

Wilson said he took the search to a wide variety of neighborhoods, including Lower Manhattan and Midtown around Bryant Park, but ultimately settled on Chelsea a few blocks south of the Fashion District. The clothing designer signed a lease in March for the space that had an asking rent in the mid $40 per square foot, Wilson said. The Midtown South area continues to be active for leasing, he added.

“While we were negotiating the asking rents bumped another $3 [per square foot],” Wilson, said. He represented Rucci along with Hal Stein, a managing principal and Gregory Wang, a managing director, both of Newmark. The landlord, Rosen Group, was represented by Newmark’s Michael Moorin, a senior managing director, and Allen Gurevich, a director.