AGMA wishes to share some news with you about AGMA’s new National Headquarters, which will bring multiple benefits to the union and our members. The purchase has not been finalized, but we anticipate that happening at the end of September. We had planned to announce the new office space in our upcoming monthly newsletter once everything was complete. You may see some media coverage today regarding this news. Given some misinformation circulating, we felt it was necessary to hear about the new AGMA National Headquarters directly from your union, a few weeks earlier than planned, even though the purchase has not been finalized.
AGMA has had its headquarters at 1430 Broadway, in the heart of the Garment District in Manhattan, for many years. Well before the pandemic, knowing that our lease was set to expire, AGMA started a search for new offices and found an opportunity to purchase our own space.
Benefits of the New Space
Our new office will be state-of-the-art, and capable of hosting bargaining sessions, trainings, and other functions of the union. The purchase of our new premises will be beneficial to AGMA in many ways
First, our monthly and annual operating costs for office space will be greatly reduced, as monthly expenses will be far less than what AGMA was already paying in rent. Second, we plan to sublet a portion of the space to another tenant. This revenue will subsidize our monthly costs.
Owning this asset is an investment in both the future of AGMA and our members. Due to the stewardship of our Board and our leadership, AGMA is in a strong financial position with two years-worth of reserves. This purchase will further strengthen our finances and takes a long view of the financial health of the union, a view shared by the overwhelming majority of the AGMA Board of Governors.
Timing and Additional Details
After significant work by the Executive Council, Finance and Budget Committee, National Executive Director Len Egert, and Chief Financial Officer Don Cavanaugh, the Board of Governors authorized the purchase by an overwhelming majority vote on November 18, 2019, prior to the COVID-19 crisis.
This spring, during the COVID-19 crisis, our Board authorized staff to renegotiate the deal to lessen the financial impact of the purchase on our finances. AGMA leadership, realizing the impact of COVID-19 on our industries, explored the possibility of backing out of the purchase, but that would have resulted in AGMA losing approximately $1 million. Through effort from our staff and leadership, we were able to purchase fewer square feet, for a lower price. As of today, we are scheduled to close on September 25.
Your elected leaders were involved at every phase of the process, from our initial search for a new space to lease to the ultimate decision to purchase a reduced space for a reduced price. The Board, after full discussion and disclosure, approved the purchase every step of the way and the details of the full financial transaction will be reported on publicly available forms filed with the Department of Labor.
We hope that you, our members, come to view this as a place where you can meet, celebrate, and organize with your fellow members. We know the last six months have been devastating, and the days ahead seem bleak, but we're confident AGMA and the industries we support will endure. The Performing Arts has been, and always will be, an essential industry.
In the coming days and weeks, we will be in touch with more information about the new office, and the services it will provide for you, the members. Thank you for your time and we hope that you are as well as can be expected under the circumstances.
Len Egert, National Executive Director
Ray Menard, AGMA President