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Nobody Beats The Wiz?

Half of all New York City The Wiz electronics stores will be closed over the next two months. Since many of the closures will leave corner sites vacant, retail brokers are already vying for the listings.

Only five Manhattan Wiz stores will remain open. The restructuring plan was announced by parent company Cablevision Systems Corporation in July, though specific stores were not named at the time. Last year, the Wiz posted $679 million worth of revenues.

Circuit City and Best Buy may be looking to buy some of the Wiz's larger sites, according to published reports. Crain's 's New York Business reported that the Wiz's most coveted sites are the Brooklyn stores on Flatbush Avenue across from King's Plaza and on 86th Street. All of the sites are located in shopping hubs. Five of the Wiz's seven Long Island stores will be closed; seven of its 14 stores in New Jersey will also be closed.

The stores that will remain open in Manhattan are 555 Fifth Ave., 212 E. 57th St., 17 Union Square West, 2577 Broadway and 1534-1536 Third Ave.

The Wiz recently hired a firm to sell the leases on these spaces.

Wiz stores range in size from roughly 9,000 SF to over 40,000 SF. Thus any number of apparel, home goods and electronics retailers might seek the space. Best Buy is reportedly seeking four stores in Manhattan. It recently opened a 35,000 SF store in Chelsea on 23rd street and Sixth Avenue.

Cablevision Systems Corp. bought Nobody Beats The Wiz for $80 million four years ago. At the time, the Wiz was operating under Chapter 11 protection. After buying the Wiz, Cablevision closed 17 locations and ended up with 36 stores throughout the region.

"The store on Steinway Street in Queens and the other one on Main Street in Flushing are the two best locations. Plenty of people would be interested in these locations," said Barry Fishbach, executive vice president at Robert K Futterman store leasing.

Fishbach speculates that drug stores, Modell's sporting goods and banks are some of the businesses that might consider leasing these spaces. Many of these spaces can be subdivided, said Fishbach.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:restructuring plan of electronics stores leave some sites vacant
Author:Chapman, Parke
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 28, 2002
Previous Article:FDNY should overhaul operations, report says.
Next Article:Midtown sees million-plus SF leasing in July.

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