The two biggest wastes of time in real estate are cemeteries and golf courses—or so said Jimmy Breslin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and father of Patrick Breslin, executive vice president of the national retail group at Studley.
“Golf is the biggest waste of time in the world,” Mr. Breslin the younger, who fancies himself more of a tennis man, told The Commercial Observer.
The 113th United States Open tees off in suburban Philadelphia on Thursday at the Merion Golf Club. In honor of the event, The CO took a look at some of the New York area’s golf-related history and attractions.
If one hot-button retail issue has dominated the New York real estate landscape in recent years, it’s been Walmart. The giant discount retailer has been trying to find a suitable location in the city for nearly a decade, but resistance has been fierce. The reasons for this resistance range from the big-box store’s labor practices to the perceived threat to local retailers.
The conflict came to a climax last year when Christine Quinn, democratic candidate for mayor, snarled, “As long as Walmart’s behavior remains the same, they’re not welcome in New York City.” Last week, The Commercial Observer spoke with some of New York’s leading retail brokers about the role of politics in retail real estate, what Walmart can do to ingratiate itself and which locations, if any, are suited to its footprint.
Retail Lease Beat
Audio solutions provider Harman International Industries Inc. is coming to 527 Madison Avenue after signing a 12-year, 8,500-square-foot “monkey wrench” of a lease deal earlier this year.
The Stamford, Connecticut-based owner of electronics company JBL – and a range of audio and GPS manufacturers – took possession of the space on May 1st, where it is in the process of building out its American flagship.
“Harman is going to flourish and do phenomenally well in this location,” Studley‘s Patrick Breslin, who represented Harman with Steve Walbridge, told The Commercial Observer. “They are working with designers and architects and engineers to make this a cutting edge store.”
National retailers are pushing north from 72nd Street on the Upper East Side, chasing changing demographics and searching for value, according to several brokers active in the market. Both 86th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues and Madison Avenue north of 72nd Street have seen strong activity and booming lease prices.
“I did deals up there 10 or 15 years ago and was hard-pressed to push $110 to $120 per square foot,” said Patrick Breslin, executive vice president of global retail at Studley. “Today, if you can find good real estate on Lex on 82nd to 85th, you’re looking at $400, $500, $600 per square foot.”
The International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) New York conference is over. Meetings were held, retailers were courted, flirtations between players crackled with possibilities. The Commercial Observer asked three experienced New York brokers what they learned at the conference and where the city’s retail hotspots are. This is what they said…
West Side Story
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To seasoned retail brokers, the very concept of the next big neighborhood in a city that has been developed several times over is, well, naïve. Still, as The Commercial Observer recently learned, most are still looking for a reason to believe.
The weekly phone calls. The dinner invites. The gifts.
When representatives from Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, waltz into the New York Hilton for this year’s two-day International Council of Shopping Centers conference, many of the city’s most intrepid retail brokers will be close behind them, perhaps even plying those officials with compliments, dinner invitations and business opportunities.
In September, retail brokerage veteran Patrick Breslin joined Studley as executive vice president of East Coast Retail Services, a division that, until now, the international real estate firm never had reason to focus on. The former president of Grubb & Ellis’s U.S. retail division and a retail broker at CBRE, Mr. Breslin, 50, spoke about his strategy at the International Council of Shopping Centers this week, his goals for Studley’s new East Coast Retail division and father Jimmy Breslin’s views on commercial real estate.