By Michelle Graff
New York--The developer that constructed the shiny new building in New York’s Diamond District reportedly plans to raze 10 older buildings in the same area, which is home to a myriad of jewelry industry firms.

New York City building records show that on July 13, the city approved the demolition of 10 W. 47th St., which is located between Fifth and Sixth avenues and is owned by Extell Development.

The city gave permission to Extell to raze 562 and 564 Fifth Ave. back in May, records show.

And, according to New York neighborhood news site, the development company received permission to demolish seven more buildings earlier this year: 3 to 13 W. 46th St. and 2 W. 47th St.

No information has yet been made public about Extell’s plans for the area. The company did not respond to National Jeweler’s request for comment on the news reports, nor did it answer questions about its plans for the Diamond District.

Extell Development is the same company that constructed the International Gem Tower, the new building at 50 W. 47th St. that was built specifically for the diamond and jewelry trade, with 24-hour security, a vault and interior loading docking among its amenities.

However, the cost of office space at the 34-story tower--much of which is commercial condo space that must be purchased, not leased--is too high for many of the smaller, family-owned firms in the jewelry industry.

Overall, there is concern about rising rents in the Diamond District, said Michael Grumet, executive director of the 47th Street Business Improvement District (BID).

“It’s a matter of supply and demand. There are more jewelers looking and there’s less space,” he said.

Two West and 10 West, two of the buildings reportedly earmarked for demolition, are “fairly large” when compared to other spaces in the Diamond District, Grumet said.

And while the district’s flagship building, 580 Fifth Ave., also known as “the 580 building” or simply “580,” remains untouched and is actually in the middle of a $50 million renovation, it is at capacity.

The Diamond District, a mix of street-level retail and office space that’s home to stone traders, manufacturers and polishers, has been the geographical center of New York’s diamond and jewelry industry since the 1940s when it gravitated north from its former home around Canal Street and the Bowery.

Grumet said jewelry is the largest manufacturing industry in New York.

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