Steve Madden’s shoe company is ready to walk away from its Queens headquarters — and take 400 workers with it — over a proposed affordable-housing development that will step on the company’s parking.
The designer’s eponymous brand uses two buildings on Barnett Avenue in Sunnyside for offices and shoe production and says it relies on a parking lot across the street for employees.
A plan by non-profit developer Phipps Houses calls for rezoning the lot to build a seven-story building with 167 units.
“Without the public parking, Madden would have no feasible way to maintain its Barnett Avenue presence,” Andrew Luskin, a lawyer for the shoe mogul, wrote in a January email to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
Luskin said the company rents about half of the 223 spaces in the lot and many company employees have been driving to work, rather than using public transit, during the pandemic.
He wrote that the company’s more than 400 workers patronize area businesses and that the company donates to local causes.
“Madden urges that the neighborhood would have much to lose if the company were compelled to relocate due to the approval of the proposed housing project and conversion of the Project Site from its present use as a public parking facility,” Luskin wrote.