Russell 2000 Index component
|Industry||Real estate investment trust|
|Founder||George Farkas, Louis Schwadron|
|Headquarters||Paramus, New Jersey|
| Steven Roth, Chairman & CEO|
Matthew Iocco, CFO
|Revenue||$226 million (2019)|
|$60 million (2019)|
|Total assets||$1.265 billion (2019)|
|Total equity||$253 million (2019)|
|Owner||Vornado Realty Trust (32.4%)|
Steven Roth & partners (26.1%)
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
Alexander's is a real estate investment trust that owns 7 properties in New York metropolitan area, including 731 Lexington Avenue, the headquarters of Bloomberg L.P. It is controlled by Vornado Realty Trust. It was founded by George Farkas and Louis Schwadron in 1928.
Before it filed for bankruptcy in 1992, Alexander's also operated a department store chain that included 16 stores at its peak. All but one of the stores (at the time of the 1992 bankruptcy) were located in buildings owned by the company. Locations included a store that occupied the entire block between East 58th and 59th streets and Lexington and Third Avenues in Manhattan (now the location of 731 Lexington Avenue), a store in The Mall at the World Trade Center, and a store in Paramus, New Jersey that featured one of the largest murals in the world.
In 1928, George Farkas, a Brooklyn native, opened a store on Third Avenue in the Bronx with $7,500 and named it for his deceased father, Alexander. Catering to the well-to-do middle class, the store offered discounted designer clothing and high-quality private label goods. Its advertising slogan at one time was "You'll find Alexander's has what you're looking for; how lucky can you get?!"
The chain thrived even during the Great Depression, and opened a location on Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse in The Bronx in 1933. At its heyday in the 1930s, this store was known for its discount bargains and had more sales per square foot than any other store in the United States.
Farkas was known for being a master at selecting locations for his stores, buying instead of leasing the real estate they were established on.
In 1963, the company opened its flagship store on 59th street in Manhattan after it bought the land from a company controlled by Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. for what seemed like a high price of $125 per square foot.
In December 1968, Alexander's became a public company via an initial public offering, raising $41.17 million, in part to prevent a takeover from competitor E. J. Korvette. Founder George Farkas retired that year due to failing health and one of his sons, Alexander S. Farkas, became CEO.
Upon completion of The Mall at the World Trade Center in 1974, Alexander's became its anchor store. The location occupied roughly 1/6 of the WTC's 500,000 square foot mall, the largest in New York City, and was located underneath 4 World Trade Center, immediately to the east of the south tower.
In 1981, management attempted to expand offerings beyond leisure apparel.
In 1984 at the request of Interstate Properties, then holding a 13% stake, Alexander Farkas resigned as CEO and was succeeded by his brother, Robin (1933-2018).
Closure and real estate business
1987 was the last year in which the company made a profit from its retail operations.
In 1988, Interstate and Trump each raised their stakes to 27% of the company, but Trump pledged his interest as collateral for a personal loan from Citibank, and in 1991 was forced to turn over his holdings to the guarantor.
In 1992, Roth and creditors forced the company into bankruptcy and the company shut all 11 stores on May 15, 1992, laying off 5,000 people. The bankruptcy was also triggered by a put option Gruss family held to sell its 18% interest in the partnership that owned the 59th street store to Alexander's for $35 million and the company did not have the money.
In 1993, the company emerged from bankruptcy. The combination of an increase in value in its real estate holdings and shedding of its liabilities caused its stock to skyrocket from $8.50 per share before it declared bankruptcy to $57 per share a year later.
Mural at the Paramus store
After George Farkas saw a mural painted by Polish artist Stefan Knapp at Heathrow Airport, he commissioned Knapp to paint one for the store in Paramus, New Jersey. However, Spanish artist Salvador Dalí had also been contracted to paint a mural for the store. Dali demanded that he do the piece, which would include giraffes with drawers suspended from their necks hanging out over the street, and Knapp could enamel the giraffes. Farkas realized Dali's idea was impractical and awarded Knapp the entire job, although Dali still was paid. When it was completed in 1963, the 280-panel mural was the largest in the world, measuring 200 feet by 50 feet and weighing over 250 tons. Farkas was enamored with the work and hired Knapp to paint murals at Valley Stream and White Plains stores. 
The store was closed in 1992 and the building sat unused. In 1996, Steven Roth, the chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, announced that the store would be redeveloped into a shopping center anchored by Ikea. Will Roseman, mayor of nearby Carlstadt, New Jersey and a director of the Bergen Museum of Art & Science contacted Roth in an attempt to save the mural. After it was appraised by Sotheby's the mural was donated to the Bergen Museum of Art & Science, which stored it in a garage in Carlstadt.
In June 2015, pieces of the mural were displayed at the Art Factory in Paterson, New Jersey. However, Roseman held back 20 sections because he was worried that the Art Factory would sell the work. The sections were laid out in rows, with some having specific themes.
- "Alexander's Inc. 2019 Form 10-K Annual Report". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- "History of Alexander's, Inc. – FundingUniverse". www.fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- "Korvette President Outlines His Plans To Raise Earnings (Published 1964)". The New York Times. 1964-08-05. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
- Levy, Steven (November 22, 1986). "Farkas vs. Farkas". New York Magazine.
- KAUFMAN, LESLIE (July 29, 1999). "Alexander Farkas, 69, Ex-Head of New York Discount Retailer". The New York Times.
- "Alexander's Shuts All Its 11 Stores; Plans Liquidation". The New York Times. May 16, 1992.
- Marzlock, Ron (September 12, 2013). "Alexander's opens its Queens store". Queens Chronicle.
- "Alexander's Unveils Model of Its Windowless Store". The New York Times. November 12, 1964.
- HERSHEY JR., ROBERT D. (December 13, 1968). "Alexander's Issue Sells Quickly; $41.17-Million Raised". The New York Times.
- "Alexander's Sale of World Trade Center Lease". The New York Times. November 5, 1992.
- "Changes Considered At Alexander's Units". The New York Times. January 8, 1981.
- "Trump to Acquire 20% of Alexander's". The New York Times. November 22, 1986.
- "Alexander's Jumps On Trump Rumor". The New York Times. May 14, 1991.
- "LOOKING CLOSER AT THE ODD BANKRUPTCY OF ALEXANDER'S INC". The Washington Post. June 2, 1992.
- "Vornado and Affiliate Get Control of Alexander's". The New York Times. March 7, 1995.
- "Alexander's Completes Sale of Kings Plaza Mall for $751 Million and Declares Special Long-Term Capital Gain Dividend of $122.00 Per Share" (Press release). Business Wire. November 30, 2012.
- LUECK, THOMAS J. (April 2, 1995). "The End Is Near for Alexander's Abstract Mural on Route 4". The New York Times.
- Hay, David (November 3, 2016). "Lost and Found". Modern Magazine.
- Brennan, John (June 7, 2017). "7 things you might not know about the man behind the Alexander's mural". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
- "Editorial: Save the 'Alexander's mural' while there's time". North Jersey Media Group. June 5, 2017.
- Kuperinsky, Amy (June 19, 2017). "Art, reanimated: Paramus Alexander's mural unveiled in Paterson". North Jersey Media Group.
- Business data for Alexander's Inc.: