New York’s Down Town Association social club declares bankruptcy

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The Down Town Association at 60-64 Pine Street (Wikipedia Commons, iStock/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

Lower Manhattan’s oldest social club is on its way out.

The Down Town Association said in a bankruptcy filing on Thursday that it had less than $75,000 to pay $6.9 million in debt, mostly held by its owner, Great Empire Realty, Bloomberg News reported. The club, founded in 1859, had provided “an island of quiet civility” and a “place of food, entertainment, relaxation or quiet speech” at 60 Pine Street since 1887.

The club’s Chapter 11 filing says it hopes to emerge as the pandemic subsides.

In 2018, Benny Fong’s Great Empire bought the building for $28.3 million with plans to lease it to the social club. In recent years, the social club has offered discounts at nearby retailers – including 15% off at Brooks Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy in July 2020.

According to the club’s bankruptcy filing, it owes severance pay to a dozen employees.

Presidents Grover Cleveland and Franklin D. Roosevelt were members of the Downtown Association, which is the second oldest such club in the country. The building that houses the club, 60-64 Pine Street, was listed as a historic monument in 1997.

[Bloomberg News] — Georgia Kromrei

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