Century 21 plans to reopen NYC flagship in downtown Manhattan

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Century 21 is making a comeback — and it’s coming back home to Manhattan’s Financial District. 

The 60-year-old retailer, known for its discounted designer goods, announced that it’s moving back into its old digs across the street from the World Trade Center after being forced out of business for two years by a September 2020 bankruptcy filing. 

The flagship store, housed inside the same Art Deco bank building at at 22 Cortlandt St. that has stayed vacant through the pandemic, will reopen in the Spring of 2023 after an extensive renovation that will shrink the space by half to about 100,000 square feet, according to a Womens Wear Daily report.

Century 21 — which had operated 13 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey — went belly-up after insurance companies failed to pay up during the pandemic.

The bankruptcy filing and subsequent closures shocked the fashion world at the time. It was an institution in the Big Apple, attracting locals and tourists alike, and had clawed its way back after Sept. 11 when it was forced to close for a period of time. 

The iconic department store filed for bankruptcy protection in Sept. 2020.
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“I’d shop there on my lunch break and bump into my board members and former colleagues,” said Alliance for Downtown president Jessica Lappin. “Lower Manhattan has really missed that store.”

Owned by the Gindi family, Century 21 inked a deal with hospitality company, Legends, which operates retail and food venues at sports stadiums, including Yankee Stadium to relaunch the department store. Legends will handle technology, store operations and logistics, including staffing, according to WWD.

The Gindi family bought the Century 21 brand for $9 million out of bankruptcy in December 2020 and has been plotting its return ever since. The family has a a long-term lease on the building that has about 75 years left, according to WWD.

Four members of the Gindi family.
The Gindi family has owned Century 21 for more than 60 years.
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“Century 21 is and always will be a New York City brand,” chief executive Raymond Gindi said in a statement. “We could not be more excited to bring Century 21 back home, delivering the same products and value to customers in partnership with Legends.”

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