ICSC: Lessons Learned and Shopping Hotspots

Adelaide Polsinelli, senior director at Eastern Consolidated

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

“With Read More


Fulton Maul: Culture Clash Ensues in Downtown Brooklyn

Armani Exchange at the City Point Development

With the long-awaited Barclays Center open and new residential and mixed-use development projects popping up across Downtown Brooklyn, a retail conundrum is growing along the 17-block Fulton Mall.

The national and in some cases high-end retailers moving onto the strip paint a stark contrast to the long list of mom-and-pops, local discounters and jewelry shops that once almost exclusively lined the street. Read More


A Mall Grows in Bushwick?

Could 82 Bogart Street attract... these hipsters?

For more than five years, an exodus of the young and hip from the aluminum-siding-studded homes of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, has been flowing southeast into neighboring Bushwick.

But now a nascent 80,000-square-foot retail and nightlife complex at 82 Bogart Street threatens to cement the neighborhood’s imminent transformation from underground hipness to mainstream retail success once and for all. Read More


Retail’s Big Renaissance

cover for web

With more than 50 million tourists running amok each year, consumers feeling recharged, and throngs of foreign retailers streaming in, Manhattan’s prime retail corridors are not only booming—they’re expanding.

High rents and low vacancies in prime corridors are changing the invisible boundary lines that once separated high- and low-end sections of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Greenwich Village and other retail corridors throughout the city, analysts and real estate brokers claim.

“When these big names and huge chains move into these areas, people just love to follow them,” said Jeffrey Roseman, an executive vice president and principal with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s retail division. “They become anchors and magnets to pull others.”

Just as the earlier success of Urban Outfitters and H&M sparked further expansion below 49th Street on Fifth Avenue, and Alfred Dunhill and watchmaker Panerai boosted retail appeal below 57th Street on Madison when they emerged in 2009, aspirational clothing retailers are now doing the same in Greenwich Village. Read More


Will WTC vs. WFC Go WWF?


As Lower Manhattan’s resurgence as a shopping district draws nearer with the progress at the World Trade Center site and other major construction projects that will revitalize Downtown, a potential rivalry has come into better focus.

Across West Street from the WTC site, the World Financial Center is having its over 100,000 square feet of retail space redone by owner Brookfield Properties.

Though many brokers describe the WTC site and World Financial Center as different spaces, many say that retail tenants interested in entering the market in Lower Manhattan are still keen to compare the two and weigh which is a better fit.

With the World Trade Center retail’s layout and offerings still a mystery to many retailers and their brokers because the marketing effort for that almost 500,000-square-foot project is still in the early stages, some say that stores are holding off on committing to either project before they can get a better sense. Read More


Amazon and Google and Bricks and Mortar


In the nebulous realm of the World Wide Web, tech entities like Google and Amazon have the reach, the customer base and the income that have helped transform them from plucky start-ups into virtual mega-Wal-Marts—too big to fail, and omnipresent in practically every state, city, town and household.

But when it comes to an actual brick-and-mortar storefront, the tech titans pale in comparison.
Google, as seemingly inseparable as it has become from one’s daily life, doesn’t sell tangible products. It offers Android, an operating system for smartphones, which is then sold off by third-party retailers like Verizon and Best Buy. But beyond that, its inventory is unknown.
Amazon’s ascendance in the virtual marketplace has spelled the eventual death of bookstores like Borders and electriconics retailers like Circuit City. Read More


The Commercial Observer’s Vegas Vacation


The annual ICSC retail conference has kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center, drawing more than 30,000 real estate professionals, including some of the country’s largest retailers, developers and real estate services companies. The event is widely considered the industry’s Super Bowl of networking and dealmaking. Though the conference started officially on Sunday, by Monday morning the convention center’s sprawling floors—which make the Javits Center seem pint-size—comes alive in earnest with crowds of retail professionals. Here are a few observations from the opening hours of the conference. —Daniel Geiger

8:30The Commercial Observer steps out into the cab line at The Palms to head to the convention center. In the queue are several other ICSC-goers. A man quickly steps from the pack and offers to split a cab. He’s in his 30s, from New Orleans, and says he runs his own brokerage company. He looks incredibly bleary-eyed and wears dark sunglasses. “I was out till 4 a.m. last night at XS,” he explains, purporting XS (pronounced excess) to be the best club in Vegas. The cab driver chimes in that pool parties have become a popular destination for fun-seekers. “They’re top-tional,” he says. The broker takes note. Where are the best parties? he asks. “The Cosmo,” the cabby replies. He has taken several fares to the conference so far: “It seems like a busy year,” he says. Read More


Walking the Floor at the International Council of Shopping Centers conference

Ariel Schuster. (Photo by Hannah Mattix)

Each year, the sound and the fury that is the International Council of Shopping Centers conference returns to New York City for a two-day affair that includes dozens of seminars, the retail industry’s biggest names, and, for some lucky brokers, the start of lucrative new relationships with the nation’s biggest brands. The Commercial Observer’s Dan Geiger walked the floor at the New York Hilton this past Monday and eavesdropped on the city’s biggest players, including Bruce Ratner, Paul Massey and Robert K. Futterman, as they courted retailers from California to Brooklyn. Below, a minute-by-minute look at Monday’s proceedings, with a special assists from Observer photographer Hannah Mattix. Read More


Q: The City's Next Hot Neighborhood? A: Take Your Pick

The Flatiron District, one of many suggested "hot" "new" neighborhoods.

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. Read More


The White Whale of West 57th Street: Nordstrom appears poised for NYC


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. Read More


After Hours: Real Estate Brokers Look For After-After-After ICSC Party

It’s ICSC week in New York City and while many in the retail business consider the event secondary to the larger conference held by the organization in Las Vegas each May, for many Manhattan real estate brokers, the conference is the most important of the year—and not necessarily just because of its jam-packed daytime roster of speakers and seminars.

In establishments from the New York Times’s four-star-rated Del Posto to the Dream Hotel in Lower Manhattan, buttoned-up retail brokers will be wining and dining potential clients during a two-day orgy of after-hour soirees, dinners and suds-soaked meetings, all designed with the deal in mind. Read More


London Calling: UK Eyes NYC Vacancies

Soon to be the official flag of Madison Avenue??

There’s plenty of room in the NYC retail market for a UK-based shop to make it big here.

Sweating like he was getting grilled by the fuzz, Cushman & Wakefield’s Mark Burlton, a partner in the firm’s retail services branch in London, politely fielded questions from The Commercial Observer on which European big-and-small-boxers have their Read More


Mayor Bloomberg to City: Don't be frontin' on Wal-Mart

Bloomberg to Wal-Mart: Come hither

Following his opening statements at this year’s ICSC conference, Mayor Mike Bloomberg told reporters in a separate press conference that the city should relax its hardliner stance on keeping big-boxer Wal-Mart out of all five boroughs.

“If they (Wal-Mart) want to come, we should not say ‘no’ to anybody,” said Mayor Mike inside the Mercury Read More


You See, the Mayor Sees, We All See ICSC

Mayor Mike addresses reporters following his opening remarks at ICSC

We were inside the West Ballroom at The Hilton New York, on the hunt for available seats when a large and friendly man sitting dead center in the front row waved us over and asked us to sit with him.

That friendly man was Bruce Ratner, head of Forest City Ratner Companies, who had no  idea that he had just invited two reporters from The Commercial Observer to join him. Read More