Leases  ·  Retail

British Coffee Chain WatchHouse Opening Second NYC Location at Chrysler Building

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RFR has started an effort to expand the Chrysler Building’s retail and amenity spaces, and kicked it off by signing a lease with British coffee chain WatchHouse to open its second New York City location.

The London-based coffee roaster will occupy 2,000 square feet for 10 years on the ground floor of the 1,046-foot-tall Art Deco landmark at 405 Lexington Avenue, according to Retail by MONA’s Brandon Singer, who handled both sides of the deal. Asking rent for the space was $200 per square foot. 

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WatchHouse recently opened a 1,500-square-foot store nearby at 660 Fifth Avenue, which was the chain’s first outpost outside of the United Kingdom. 

Singer is also marketing the building’s 30,000-square-foot “arcade level,” the first basement floor below the lobby, as retail, and RFR is considering converting part of the second floor to retail, according to Retail by Mona and Bisnow. The property is undergoing a $200 million renovation, including new mechanical systems, new windows, new restrooms, and revamps for the lobby and arcade floor designed by Rockwell Group

The 27th floor is getting a tenant lounge with a yoga room, kitchen and terrace, dubbed the Chrysler Club, and the 61st and 62nd floors are getting a new, Art Deco-inspired bar and restaurant, the Cloud Club. The Cloud Club was in fact a real private executive club in the building when it opened in the 1930s, according to The New York Times. In 1971, the club roster had 300 members from 180 companies, per The Times, but it shuttered eight years later after the building was sold in a foreclosure proceeding to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, now known as MassMutual

“We are excited to be redefining the Chrysler Building through unique, modern retail experiences,” said Singer in a statement. “The Chrysler Building’s iconic status and location in a dense office and tourist market directly across from Grand Central’s transit hub was the ideal formula for WatchHouse’s New York City flagship.”

Rebecca Baird-Remba can be reached at rbairdremba@commercialobserver.com.