NKF Takes Over as Exclusive Agents for Staten Island Empire Outlets


Newmark (NMRK) Knight Frank was named the exclusive leasing agent for Staten Island’s recently opened Empire Outlets mall, taking over from local brokerage Casandra Properties, Commercial Observer has learned.

An NKF team of Jeffrey Roseman, Marc Frankel and Drew Weiss will represent BFC Partners as the developer looks to lease the final 100,000 square feet in the St. George outlet mall.

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“I think they realized we have probably a greater reach to get some of the national and international companies,” Roseman said. “Our reach, our access, we can get to most folks.”

NKF will target more food options, cosmetics stores, children clothing shops and home furnishings for the remaining space in Empire Outlets, Roseman said.

The 1.1-million-square-foot, $360 million Empire Outlets opened in May after nearly seven years of planning with nearly 30 shops and food options and plans to open the rest in phases throughout the year. All told, the mall will have 100 stores, a 1,250-space parking garage and will eventually house a 200-room hotel.

“Most New Yorkers don’t realize that hopping on the Staten Island Ferry and going shopping at Empire Outlets is as accessible as any other shopping district in the city … and you get to see the Statue of Liberty along the way,” Roseman said in a statement. “This is a prime location for any tenant looking to capitalize on a wide range of consumers spending money across the city. We’re looking forward to working with ownership to lease the rest of the space and continue to bring great retailers to the project and the city.”

In August, the project faced criticisms when The City reported that barely one-third of the project was occupied three months after opening, with some visitors telling the website the mall looked like a “ghost town.”

“Since opening in May, Empire Outlets has already been a game-changer for Staten Island’s North Shore, with ferry ridership to the borough hitting record highs this year,” Joseph Ferrara, a principal at BFC, said in a statement. “That momentum is only continuing to increase, with several new retailers opening at Empire Outlets this week and additional store openings expected throughout the fall.”

Roseman and Casandra Properties CEO James Prendamano both told CO the report had nothing to do with the switch in the leasing agent. Prenadamano said the project is nearly 80 percent leased, but many retailers and eateries are waiting for construction to finish on its sections before opening.

“You can’t knock a tenant for not opening if the center’s not built yet or if portions are not built yet,” Prendamano said. “There’s going to be another big slew of tenants, it’s just waiting to open. We can’t open if it’s not built.”

Prendamano said his contract with BFC recently ended and his firm’s specialty is in pre-development leasing so they decided to move on to other projects.

“It’s time to pick up and move on to the next venture,” he said. “The transition into management and all that stuff, it’s just not our company. All good things come to an end.”

Roseman praised Casandra’s works — especially nabbing anchor tenants like Nike and Nordstrom Rack — and said BFC was attracted to NKF’s reach to take the project over the finish line.

“We are thrilled to be working with Newmark Knight Frank, who will deliver the world-class shopping options that visitors expect when they come to Empire Outlets,” Ferrara said.