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Broadway is back, and it's better than ever.

The investment sales market has rebounded nationwide. Consistent with this trend, the New York City market has experienced a marked increase in all areas, and especially retail leasing activity. The Upper West Side, in particular, has become the "hottest region" in New York for retailers.

Broadway from 72nd Street to 86th Street is a retail corridor which now contains the most sought after market space in the city. It seems that every major retailer now wants to open up a location along this sizzling stretch, with almost no space available.

Many of the nation's premier retailers have already opened up showcase branches along the avenue. Notable examples in which I have had a major involvement include Barnes and Nobles, which unveiled a 30,000 square foot store at 82nd Street and Broadway; Filene's Basement, which occupied an equally large space on 79th Street and Broadway; and Talbot's at 82nd-83rd Streets and Broadway.

National retailers have been rushing in to capitalize on a rather soft market. Rents had declined 30 percent across the board from their peaks in the late '80s, bringing them to a level that many retailers found more attractive -- although these levels were still higher than other national averages. Many of these retailers have learned that sales levels attainable here justify these still relatively high rents.

Government Joins the Leasing Team

The New York City administration, now more responsive to the needs of business, has also encouraged all real estate leasing activity. From the mayor's office to various agencies, government is working to attract real estate investment, realizing that it is a "key factor in maintaining a viable city economic environment."

Re-investment in New York Grows

This investor-friendly environment has encouraged many New York investors to re-enter the real estate market, purchasing and developing properties in increasingly creative fashions. Typifying this move has been the joint Eichner/Toys-R-Us plan to develop a property on 80th Street and Third Avenue. This initiative combines the talents of a retail giant with those of a major developer of rental apartment properties. Two or three other rental apartment projects are going forward as well.

A strong market for Class A office buildings has also emerged. This once sluggish part of the investment sales market is now attracting buyers nationwide, most notably in New York, Washington, and Boston.

While foreign investors are still looking for investment opportunities, most are avoiding the mistake of paying huge prices for signature properties. Instead some are trying to follow more traditional paths followed by established New York investors.
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Title Annotation:Review and Forecast Section I; New York, New York; commercial leasing
Author:Simon, Alan M.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jun 22, 1994
Previous Article:Opportunities, pitfalls abound in recovering market.
Next Article:Deja vu all over again.

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