The Top Retail Spots Up For Grab
155 Fifth Avenue The legging trend came and went with the side ponytail, but for a while Eileen Fisher lived on in the Flatiron. Robert K. Futterman & Associates’ Karen Bellantoni said they’ll be marketing the prime space at 22nd Street. The charming shopping district was one of the retail areas hardest hit by the recession, but with Eataly drawing well-moneyed diners, the Flatiron seems to be emerging from its slumber. Joe Fresh just signed in Esprit’s former space. But we’re just as intrigued by the return of the famed RKF pool party. “What’s interesting is we haven’t had a party for a couple of years,” said the firm’s Ariel Schuster. “But this year at the Cosmopolitan we’re having a huge party with a lot of great clients. It’s back.”
The 10th-biggest available retail space in the borough and arguably the best located, this roughly 48,000-square-foot spot right at 3 Columbus Circle will probably create even more buzz than the office space upstairs. “The work is almost done in the building,” said Newmark Knight Frank’s Jeffrey Roseman, who will be pushing the newly available retail space at ICSC. “It’s a huge retail space, a market-making space. It really is the anchor position of that market, especially with the success of Time Warner.” We’ve always had trouble putting our finger on that elusive Columbus Circle retail vibe—part Hugo Boss, part T.J. Maxx. But whatever retailer lands in some newly available space at Columbus Circle could help determine whether a semi-circle of retail just off Central Park finally goes up or down scale.
Could it finally be the end of the Conde Nast Building as we know it? The Durst Organization has put the 45,000-square-foot Times Square mega-space back on the market. They plan to launch the space at a bash at the Aureole during ICSC. They did the same thing the last time the site was available, in 1998. With three full floors and 185 feet of street frontage in the hottest retail neighborhood in the city, the Durst folks seem confident the space will generate some buzz. “It may not be the Conde Nast building just by force of this iconic imagery,” said Jordan Barowitz, a Durst spokesman, told The Commercial Observer recently.
Nothing jars us more when we emerge from the subway, Birkin bag in hand and ready for a delightful shopping spree at Soho’s chichi boutiques, than those protesters clustered around the giant BP gas station at Houston and Lafayette. We’re not actually quite that heartless, but nonetheless we’re relieved to learn that the most awkwardly located gas station in the city is apparently turning into an upscale shopping hub. CB Richard Ellis is marketing the new retail space, right across from the much-hyped REI outdoor equipment store in the Puck Building. We don’t know much more than that yet, but the location pretty much says it all.
It doesn’t actually exist, but the soon-to-be Drake Hotel retail space, with its rumored glass cube and a nearly perfect spot at Park Avenue and 57th Street, tops our list anyway. CB Richard Ellis power broker David Lapierre is in charge of marketing the spot and will be rolling it out at ICSC. Back in the pre-Lehman day, Nordstrom’s was said to be interested in the space, but we’ve heard that deal is dead and not likely to be revived. The tower will be primarily residential, but will also include 100,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, The Wall Street Journal reported. Maybe with the rumored Grand Central deal now dead, Harry Macklowe will go Apple-picking again?
With the World Trade Center and about a gazillion hotel rooms set to rise downtown in the next few years, the usual retail suspects are likely to follow. Well, those future H&Ms and Zaras will have their pick of a roughly 11,000-square-foot retail space at 140 William Street, or the entire 40,000-square-foot building, with a likewise roughly 11,000 square feet of retail, at 96 Fulton Street. “It could be a terrific flagship retail location,” said Peter Brauss, of Sierra Realty, which is marketing the properties.
We hear that a whole block could be coming available on 42nd Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway. Cushman & Wakefield’s C. Bradley Mendelson, who could be marketing the space, would not comment. “I can tell you for the first time in three years, we’re not renting 666 Fifth Avenue,” Mr. Mendelson said. That space is now taken by Swatch, Zara and Uniqlo, making it by some estimations the billion-dollar block. Mr. Mendelson expects ICSC to be busy nonetheless, with meet-and-greets every 15 minutes during the day. But there will be the odd nod to these post-recessionary times. “We’ll have a cocktail party,” he said. “We used to have dinner parties, but those don’t exist any more.”