Former Garment Warehouse in Chelsea Becomes a High-End Office Building
When James Haddad’s family purchased 520 West 20th Street in the 1970s, West Chelsea was already past its prime as an industrial area connected by a freight network and the original Chelsea Piers, through which large steamships brought both consumer goods and passengers from Europe.
The Haddads founded their linen-and-garment business, the Carolina Manufacturing Company, on Allen Street on the Lower East Side in the 1920s. A decade later, they purchased a building at 313 Fifth Avenue, between East 31st and East 32nd Streets, in the then-burgeoning Garment District. The family moved their offices and showrooms uptown to Fifth Avenue and began to buy properties nearby—including a four-story warehouse at the edge of industrial West Chelsea. They acquired 520 West 20th Street in the 1970s, after a rezoning pushed them out of their longtime warehouse on Washington Street in the West Village.
By REBECCA BAIRD-REMBA