After decades as a fixture on 11th Avenue, Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware is chopping its Hell’s Kitchen locations and consolidating operations to its Astoria and Soho branches.
“Like many other companies in recent times, we are making changes to our business operation,” read a notice from owner Robert Gans on the door of the 11th Avenue and W45th Street store. “On December 19th we will move our Midtown store to Astoria, Queens and will be ready for business as usual on December 20th. We appreciate your support during this transition and look forward to providing you with all your building and hardware supplies.”
Gans, a native Brooklynite who forged his business empire in the lumber industry, owns the 57,700-square foot 11th Avenue assemblage as well as an eclectic variety of properties including the now-closed but still famous Scores strip club in Chelsea and the also-shuttered Executive Club, a two-level, 10,000-square foot exotic dance club and restaurant, once positively reviewed by New York Times columnist Frank Bruni in a piece entitled “Where Only the Salad Is Properly Dressed”.
In July, the businessman put his properties into bankruptcy as a means of pausing litigation from lenders Mack Real Estate Group Extell Development and Eli Tabak’s Bluestone Group, who purchased Gans’s debt from Mack in April 2022. After a countersuit by Gans accusing the lenders of “engaging in a conspiracy” to sell his properties out from under him, the entrepreneur settled with Extell and the Tabak family in September. They agreed to let him keep his portfolio, under the condition that he pay back $200 million in loans and other expenses by December 22, according to The Real Deal.
Previous reports by The Real Deal and W42ST suggested that the Hell’s Kitchen properties were an attractive opportunity for redevelopment in an area of Midtown West that has seen its fair share of acquisitions, demolitions and new construction.
Whether Gans has paid his lenders was unclear at the time of publication, and W42ST reached out to lawyers who have previously represented him, as well as to the Metropolitan Lumber team for further clarification, where a representative from the company declined to comment.
For West Siders used to the longstanding blue 11th Avenue signage and the bustle of lumber transportation, it was another sign of “Old Midtown” on the chopping block. Said reader Howard Miller: “End of an era for Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware’s 11th Ave properties.”