Gay Men’s Health Crisis inks 112K sf deal in the Garment District

Nonprofit will relocate HQ from 5 Manhattan West

307 West 38th Street and GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie
307 West 38th Street and GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie

The Gay Men’s Health Crisis, which headed to the Far West Side seven years ago to flee rising rents in Chelsea, is once again on the move.

The country’s largest nonprofit care provider for those with HIV/AIDS is relocating its offices from the Far West Side to the Garment District, where it signed a 30-year lease for 112,000 square feet at George Comfort & Sons’ 307 West 38th Street, a representative for GMHC confirmed to The Real Deal.

The organization, which serves more than 15,000 people each year, is downsizing in the move from the 165,000 square feet it occupies now at Brookfield Property Partners’ 5 Manhattan West.

A representative for the George Comfort did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Ira Schuman and Stephan Steiner at Savills Studley represented GMHC.

Kelsey Louie, CEO of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, said the organization “continues to grow to serve the needs of our clients and all New Yorkers,” and that the new space offers a “more central, accessible location that will also better accommodate our operations and the services we offer.”

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“Our new offices will have an efficient, welcoming layout, enhancing our work toward ending the AIDS epidemic,” he wrote in a prepared statement, and thanked Chelsea Council member and new City Council Speaker Corey Johnson for helping to facilitate the move.

GMHC traces its origins back more than 35 years ago to the Greenwich Village apartment of co-founder Larry Kramer, and for 15 years starting in the late 1990s it was headquartered at 119 West 24th Street.

But when that lease came due in 2010, the nonprofit was looking at a rent hike from a reported $6.4 million to $9 million. So it headed west to what was then known as the Associated Press building.

Since that the move, the Far West Side has exploded as a destination for high-paying technology, law and finance firms. Brookfield completely overhauled the 1.8 million-square-foot building and inked deals with tenants like the advertising firm R/GA, Amazon and JPMorgan Chase’s digital arm.

Average asking rents on the Far West Side were nearly $119 per square foot during the fourth quarter, compared to roughly $63 per square foot in the submarket covering GMHC’s new headquarters, according to Newmark Knight Frank.

George Comfort last year landed $70 million from JPMorgan Chase in late October to refinance the 300,000-square-foot Garment District building on 38th Street.