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Bradlees boosts NY's retail.

Retail leasing experts last week labeled the decision of Bradlees discount department store to take over six Alexander's locations a stabilizing event for those neighborhoods that will welcome them in the coming months.

The move also further demonstrates the current strength of discount retailers.

When the bankrupt Alexander's shut down all its stores, these shopping districts - Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse in The Bronx, Bruckner Boulevard and White Plains Road in The Bronx, Central Avenue in Yonkers, Roosevelt and Fushing Avenues in Queens, 63rd Road and Queens Boulevard in Queens, and Valley Stream Shopping Mall on Long Island -- lost a valuable anchor. For the surrounding smaller stores in these areas, prospects for leasing empty space and retaining tenants were grim.

While many thought New York-based Caldor's would seize the opportunity, the Braintree, Massachusetts-based Bradlees will buy or acquire the leases on-tour of Alexander's 11 locations, which all 11 stores closed their doors in May.

Ed Friedman, president of Newark Retail Services, counts among his leasing charges a building on Fordham Road, which had been home to Alexander's for more than 50 years.

"This is a very important deal for the areas they went into," Friedman said.

Fordham Road and the other locations, Friedman said, were profitable stores for the Alexander's chain before it ran into problems in other areas.

Ben Fox, vice president, New Spectrum Real Estate, specialists in retail leasing, said the move was "a good shot-in-the arm" for all the neighborhoods, which, he said, are essentially strong.

"They are a good operator," he said. "I think it will add vigor and excitement."

To many, it was not a surprise that a discount retailer had the wherewithal to make such a move despite the poor economy.

"K-Mart, Walmart, Bradlees -- these are the company's doing business," said Friedman, "You're living in a world where the discounter is a major retailer ... It never was before."

59th St. Stays Vacant

Real estate's retail sector was also relieved that Alexander's former 59th Street/Lexington Avenue Location, across from Bloomingdale's, was not part of the deal.

"Everybody got what they wanted," Fox said, "because that valuable real estate was not included. That real estate is worth a helluva lot more than all the others."

Friedman said he predicted in his retail survey, The Friedman Report, that the "big dollars" 59th Street site would stay vacant much longer than the other Alexander's locales.

"It's really not a site for anything but a mixed-use development," he said. "And there's no financing around."

Bradlees received a pledge of tax incentives from the City of New York. Details of that arrangement were not announced.
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Title Annotation:department store, New York, New York
Author:Fitzgerald, Therese
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Sep 30, 1992
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