Convene Leasing Former Saks Space at Brookfield Place for an Event Venue

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Convene will take over the majority of the shuttered Saks Fifth Avenue location inside Lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place and open a “large-scale” event space as malls around the country shift away from retail to draw shoppers inside, Brookfield Property Partners announced today.

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The office space provider signed a 10-year lease for 73,000 square feet over three levels of Brookfield Place’s retail courtyard, which has an address of 230 Vesey Street, Bloomberg first reported. A spokesman for Brookfield declined to provide asking rent.

Convene’s event venue, set to open in the fourth quarter of this year, will have two large rooms that can seat up to 500 people each, several smaller rooms for meetings and a retail café, according to Brookfield.

“We recognized that sophisticated event and flex meeting space was a component that would enhance the Brookfield Place experience for office tenants and visitors alike,” Ben Brown, an executive vice president at Brookfield, said in a statement. “Convene’s unique plans for this space, coupled with its exceptional hospitality services, will be a game-changer for Brookfield Place on all fronts.”

Convene will assume the majority of the 86,000 square feet leased by Saks Fifth Avenue for a women’s store, which The New York Post reported closed in January just two years after it opened. The retailer still has a smaller, 16,700-square-foot, men’s store in the mall, according to the Post.

CBRE’s Rocco Laginestra and Jared Freede represented Convene in the deal along with JLL’s Joseph Messina. Mikael Nahmias and Justin Coulter handled it in-house for Brookfield. Spokespeople for CBRE and JLL declined to comment.

The addition of a large Convene event space at Brookfield Place comes as mall operators around the wall struggle to fight against e-commerce and fill up vacant space left by department stores and retailers.

Mall owners have taken to adding entertainment options like movie theaters, indoor amusement parks and branded food halls in an effort to get customers coming back. Last year, one of the country’s biggest operators, Macerich, partnered with Industrious to add flexible-office spaces in empty retail spaces at several of its locations, Commercial Observer previously reported.

In New Jersey, Triple Five’s long-delayed American Dream Mall is slated to open in April with an indoor ski lift, a DreamWorks-branded indoor waterpark and a National Hockey League-sized ice rink.