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Manhattan retail enjoys year of activity.

Activity in the retail market during 1992 was a welcome counterpoint to the lethargy plaguing other market sectors. Store leasing thrived in virtually all major retail corridors, underscoring once again the enduring appeal of Manhattan to retailers large and small, local, national and international.

On the Upper East Side, vibrancy abounded. The neighborhood's three main retail avenues, Third, Lexington and Madison, were virtually untouched by recession, and at year-end showed almost no availabilities. Highlighting activity on Third was the large commitment by the Gap, Gap Shoes and Banana Republic to the entire block-front spanning 66th and 67th Streets. A spate of foreign retail tenants joined the venerable roster of Madison Avenue boutiques, meanwhile, with leases signed by Gianfranco, Equipment and Charivari.

The Upper West Side fared similarly well during 1992. A dearth of availabilities anywhere in this region left little room for sizable leasing transactions. The few such "'commitments were by notables like Barnes & Noble, Ann Taylor and Herman's, all in the Broadway area.

The Flatiron district continued to expand during the past year. Bed, Bath & Beyond opened a sizable store on Sixth Avenue, furthering the area's appeal as a home furnishings hub. The venerable ABC Carpet, meanwhile, continued to thrive.

The openings of Pier One Imports at Fifth Avenue and 16th Street, the Bombay Company at Broadway and 20th Street, and the Body Shop at Fifth Avenue and 20th Street enhanced traffic in the area, supplemented by the continued success of mainstay restaurants like the Coffee, Shop, the Union Square Care, the Mesa Grill and Canastel's.

The dynamic SoHo region witnessed an exciting year, with the addition of Armani AX and the Guggenheim to the intersection of Prince and Broadway, which already houses the popular Dean & DeLuca. This formidable corner is likely to become the new epicenter of SoHo, surpassing even West Broadway in its collective attractiveness. This year, SoHo will receive its first luxury hotel at Mercer and Prince, furthering the traffic.

The Astor Place-Broadway area witnessed move-ins by both Nobody Beats the wiz, in 25,000 square feet of space at the former home of Unique BoUtique, and Reebok, which opened its first Manhattan store at the corner Of Bond and Broadway. The recent purchase at auction by Dwelling Managers of the VMS Realty properties on Eighth between Broadway and University, meanwhile, will likely precipitate a welcome facelift for that block. Although the redevelopment of the Times Square area has been delayed, improvements there are already visible. Virtually all pornographic stores on Broadway and Seventh Avenue have been eliminated, and the openings of the Gap and Carmine's restaurant have revitalized 42nd and Broadway, and 44th and Broadway, respectively. The new Embassy Suites Hotel and the Ramada Renaissance Hotel are among other welcome additions to the area. Finally, the Times Square BID commitment to a proactive involvement in sanitation, appearance, etc., has itself engendered a renewed optimism for the area.

Even the department stores began in 1992 to emerge from their malaise. Most ended the year encouraged by the holiday season traffic and sales, and began the new year with the hope of building on that momentum.
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Title Annotation:Review & Forecast, Section II; improvement in retail industry spurs activity in New York, New York store leasing
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jan 27, 1993
Previous Article:Prospects positive for liquidity in capital markets.
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