As Gary Barnett’s new residential tower One 57 continues to rise over Central Park – not to mention all of its neighbors – rumors continue to circulate in the city’s brokerage industry that Mr. Barnett is lining up a huge retail deal befitting the property.
Several sources familiar with the project say that Nordstrom, the fickle upper end department store that for years has shopped with bargain-hunter discipline around Manhattan for a store, is in talks to finally settle down in the towering residential building’s lower floors.
Unlike some retail leases, whose certainty can be verified by sources in a brokerage business always eager to trade information and gossip, the Nordstrom deal at One 57 is as much a process of deduction as inside knowledge.
“He hasn’t marketed the space openly,” one prominent retail dealmaker told The Commercial Observer of Gary Barnett. “That tells me he has a tenant on for the space.”
“They (Nordstrom) had also looked at his site on 5th Avenue and 47th Street (another development site) with Gary so I would expect they had some dialogue about this site too,” another broker wrote The CO in an email.
Another retail leasing executive said that Norstrom made perfect sense for Mr. Barnett’s building because it fit the image of the super-luxury residential condos above and would be an amenity for the property’s eventual residents. That person said the importance of One 57’s retail tenant contrasted other high end residential towers such as the Bloomberg Building, where developer Vornado installed a Home Depot because the retail was separate from the entrance to the residential space. At One 57, occupants of the building would pass directly by the retail space and the tenant would likely impact the property’s prestige.
Nordstrom is a store that most brokers agree is a coveted brand.
Mr. Barnett in the past has openly denied that Nordstrom was in talks to anchor the base of his soaring new 90-story building. This time a call to the developer, who was ranked a lofty number 2 in The CO’s annual Power 100 list, resulted in a “no comment.”
Though Mr. Barnett has not actively showed the space to the city’s brokerage community, the building’s retail is generally thought to be about 90,000 square feet in size and potentially bigger if a lease is drawn to stretch up into more of the building’s lower floors.
Nordstrom has been something of the white whale of the city’s retail industry, a huge tenant that has popped up at several prominent developments only to back off and disappear for long stretches of time. The company’s discount store concept, Nordstrom Rack, meanwhile operates a location in Union Square and is reported to be in talks to open another store in 1095 Avenue of the Americas across from Bryant Park.
A call to a Nordstrom spokesman for comment was not returned by press time.