Leases  ·  Retail

FAO Schwarz and Toys “R” Us Looking to Open Combo Store at Brill Building


The future owners of the Brill Building are in negotiations with FAO Schwarz and sister company Toys “R” Us for a co-branded store, Commercial Observer has learned.

If the deal goes through, it would solve the mystery of where Toys, which didn’t renew its flagship location in Times Square, and FAO, which vacated the General Motors Building in July, would reopen.

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There is about 50,000 square feet of retail space available in the Brill Building at 1619 Broadway at West 49th Street. A source said the ground-floor asking rent is $700 or $800 per square foot, on the second and third floors it’s $150 per foot and in the basement it’s $100 a foot.

A deal for FAO at Paramount Group’s 1633 Broadway between West 50th and West 51st Streets went bust a week before the deal was signed, as CO reported on Aug. 7. The reason, CO has since learned, was because FAO was planning to open a FAO and Toys combination store, and Paramount “didn’t want a Toys in front of a Class A office building,” the source said.

The Brill Building will soon be under new ownership. As CO reported early this month, Brill Holdings, a partnership of real estate investment firm B+B Capital, Israel-based fashion chain Fox-Wizel and landlords Conway Capital and Schottenstein Realty, is in contract to buy the landmarked 11-story office and retail tower in Times Square for $295 million. The seller is a partnership between Allied Partners and Brickman. The purchase of the 175,000-square-foot building is expected to close in December.

Brill Holdings and Paramount declined to comment through spokespeople. The listing agents for 1633 Broadway are Cushman & Wakefield‘s C. Bradley Mendelson, Alan Schmerzler, Steve Soutendijk and Chris Schwart. Mr. Mendelson wasn’t reachable for comment and Mr. Schmerzler declined to comment. A Toys spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.