Leases  ·  Retail

Under Armour Exec Confirms Company Taking Former FAO Schwarz Space [Updated]


In the race to see who will take the former FAO Schwarz space at the GM Building, Under Armour has declared itself the winner over Nike.

Under Armour Chief Executive Officer Kevin Plank announced during a second-quarter earnings call this morning that the fitness wear company has signed a lease for 53,000 square feet at the base of the building, which has an official address of 767 Fifth Avenue

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Plank said Under Armour is a “growth company” looking to expand its footprint, adding that the GM Building’s location between East 58th and East 59th Streets was one of the “most recognized and high-trafficked areas of all of New York.”

“And our plan is to build the most breathtaking and exciting consumer experience ever conceived at [a] retail” location, Plank said.

David A. Green and Steven Soutendijk of Cushman & Wakefield represent landlord Boston Properties at the building and did not immediately return a request for comment via a spokesman. Robert Cohen and Peter Whitenack of RKF represented Under Armour along with Jeff Mason of Mason Retail Group. An RKF spokeswoman declined to comment.

Boston Properties (BXP) spokeswoman declined to provide the asking rent as well as the length of the lease. Under Armour is slated to assume the space sometime in 2018, she added. 

FAO Schwarz left the property last summer after 30 years, citing a rent increase that it claimed it couldn’t pay. The toy seller was paying $20 million per year in rent, according to a first-quarter 2015 Boston Properties earnings call. The landlord’s spokeswoman said today there is still 17,000 square feet of former FAO Schwarz space available to lease. 

Today’s announcement could end what has become a lengthy retail saga between three companies—Nike, Under Armour and Apple—and covering almost all of Manhattan.

Under Armour has been eyeing the space, as Commercial Observer reported in May. Apple is using some of the former FAO store while sprucing up its current below-grade shop at the 1.8-million-square-foot tower.

The New York Post reported in May that Nike, which has a store at 6 West 57th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue was looking to take the space in the case that Apple did not take it for the long term.

Nike is also negotiating a lease for 40,000 to 65,000 square feet at 140 West Street between Vesey and Barclay Streets, the Post reported last week. Under Armour was rumored to take the Financial District space if its competitor backed out, the paper noted.  

Update: This story was edited to include information from a Boston Properties spokeswoman, as well as the brokers for the tenant.