As the year draws to a close, I usually dole out holiday wishes for those who are either directly or indirectly related to the commercial real estate industry in New York City.
However, in a year in which politics has been such a central theme, this year’s focus will take stock of how our elected officials have performed and what Santa should give them.
It was a Los Angeles-based company inspired by Japanese shopping habits that brought pop-up retail to America. During a trip to Tokyo in 1999, Russ Miller witnessed the lengths to which the city’s famously voracious consumers would go to buy rare and limited-edition products.
Mr. Miller brought that mind-set back to L.A. with Vacant, “a retail concept and exhibition store” that would open shops only to close them as soon as they ran out of goods.
Discount retailer Target once again positioned itself as the funky anti-Walmart when it took over a 220-foot-long boat at Chelsea Piers for a two-week stay on the Hudson River that coincided with Black Friday in November of 2002. Vacant arrived in New York in February 2003, working with Dr. Martens on a pop-up space at 43 Mercer Street.
The International Council of Shopping Centers landed in New York at the Hilton yesterday morning for Day 1 of its two-day New York National Conferences. Keynote addresses were made, palms were greased and rubbery chicken was endured, as attendees shuffled between booths set up by retailers and brokerage firms ranging from A&G Realty Partners to Zinburger Frozen Yogurt.
After the jump, The Commercial Observer’s Billy Gray joins, and attempts to stay above, the fray.
Patrick Smith is an executive vice president and principal of the retail real estate services firm SRS Real Estate Partners, which was spun off from Staubach when that company was acquired by Jones Lang LaSalle. Mr. Smith is a busy leasing dealmaker not only in the city but nationally and represents a host of large retailers that have been active in the market both here and around the country, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Party City and Disney. With ICSC, the biggest retail event of the year, only weeks away, Mr. Smith weighed in on the state of the retail market with The Commercial Observer and discussed what he has planned for this year’s conference in Las Vegas.
While Walmart refuses to say if, when or where it might finally open a store within the five boroughs, one of its favored sites is the Related Company’s Gateway Center Mall in the far reaches of Brooklyn. The area is economically depressed, meaning the cheap jobs and cheap merchandise are (theoretically) desirable. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union sees Walmart jobs as junk, and they have been campaigning against the store since it resurfaced a two years ago.
Today, they made things personal, not just with Steve Ross, Related’s founder and CEO, but also his more than 7,200 tenants in the New York area.
It’s the great white whale of Manhattan retail.
Aside from Walmart, Nordstrom is the store every retail broker in the city dreams of harpooning and reeling into a new home. One prominent broker familiar with the store, the amount of space it needs and the rents it would probably be willing to pay estimates that the commission for handling its lease would be around $10 million.
But like a leviathan lurking beneath the waves, the department store has offered only fleeting glimpses around the city, most notably at several development sites and a few existing assets with the capacity to accommodate its sprawling footprint.
The scuttlebutt nowadays: Nordstrom is contemplating one of two leases, one at the West Side rail yards with the Related Companies or another at the base of Extell Development’s soaring new residential tower now rising at 157 West 57th Street.
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.
Road RageWalmart Wars
Our colleagues at the Politicker dig into a new Quinnipiac poll, which has some interesting results for us over on the real estate desk, namely Bike Lames and the Walmart-osaurus.
Big Box Battles
A coalition of anti-gun advocates are calling on Mayor Bloomberg this morning to join them in rejecting Walmart’s plans to expand to New York City in light of a report that the big box retailer is trying to increase its sales of guns and ammunition as a way to boost its bottom line.
“The mayor Read More
The other day, I was walking around the city taking photographs of buildings for a marketing brochure I am putting together. I was using my old Polaroid Land Camera–you know, the one where the photograph slides out of the front of the camera and develops right before your very eyes. As I was Read More
Retailing giant Walmart’s bid to build a store in the five boroughs was kicked up a notch today with the unveiling of a series of ads designed to sway skeptical New Yorkers.
According to a store representative, the ads will run on NY1, News 12, the Lifetime and Nickelodeon channels, and the MSG network. A Read More
Most of the talk about Walmart opening a store in New York City has focused on outlets at the edges of the outer boroughs or possibly small stores scattered here and there. But what if the big-box retailer opened a store in the heart of Manhattan?
That is the real possibility presented by Read More
Among the laments for the Death of New York is the disappearance of many of the mom-and-pops that once lined the city’s streets. As bank branches and pharmacies and Marc Jacobses have descended on the city, the small-time merchants have fallen prey. Now they may be facing their biggest threat yet, Read More