Chetrit looks to break Diamond District with bank

Before Extell Development ever stuck a shovel in the Diamond District’s ground for its forthcoming International Gem Tower, a three-level retail space on the block known as the Exchange was among the centerpieces of the district. But according to the New York Post, the landlord wants to swap the diamond-slingers that populate the retail space for a bank.

After purchasing 15 West 47th Street — along with 22 West 48th Street for more than $115 million — in June, landlord Joseph Chetrit has begun looking for a bank to replace the Exchange’s 19,176 square feet.

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According to listing broker Melinda Miller of Winick Realty Group, the building is “being marketed to banks or financial institutions only because it’s the best use as there is only one bank servicing the Diamond District on 47th between Fifth and Sixth avenues.” She added that Extell’s new building would only increase the demand for such a tenant.

But the more than 50 jewelry merchants that operated from the space, who have been on month-to-month leases for four years, now face an uncertain future. The Gem Tower is expected to be fully operational within a year. [Post, 2nd item]