A 220-foot-tall office development is set to replace two smaller buildings – one mixed-use and the other commercial – in Midtown’s tiny Diamond District. New building applications were filed Friday for the 17-story building at 43 West 47th Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues.
The five- and six-story structures at 41-43 West 47th house a mix of pawn shops, wholesale diamond sellers, apartments, and a Bukharan Jewish deli, Taam-Tov. Demolition plans were filed in April to knock down the pair of buildings, as DNAinfo reported at the time, but the DOB has not yet approved them.
The new development would have 68,000 square feet of commercial space, but the plans offer few details besides the square footages. The first and second floors would include “mercantile space,” which means that one of the pawn shops or diamond sellers may return to the new building.
Marin Architects, which is based nearby on West 38th Street, will design the project.
The developer is Boris Aronov, who owns Modern Pawn Brokers on the ground floor of 43 West 47th. He purchased the building for $3,550,000 in 1998 and no. 41 next door for $7,200,000 in 2003. Aronov was also involved in the condo conversion of 101 Leonard Street in Tribeca, and now he’s trying to develop a large industrial site along the Astoria waterfront.
Before Aronov, the Modell family owned 43 West 47th Street. They have operated a chain of pawn shops across the five boroughs for more than a century, including one a few doors down at 21 West 47th Street. George Modell opened his first pawnbroking business on Cortlandt Street in 1893, four years after his brother, Morris A. Modell, set up a general store down the block. Morris’s storefront grew into the national Modell’s sporting goods chain, and George’s remained a local operation. The latter company still has seven locations with old-fashioned signage in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, according to their website.
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