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World's priciest real estate? It could only be Tiffany's.

There is an interesting tendency evolving. Although the top four most expensive streets in the world -- 57th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues is first, followed by Hong Kong's Causeway Bay, Paris' Champs Elysees and Oxford Street in London -- are all driven by fashion and other high-ticket merchandise, it isn't so for the other streets on the World list.

By the way, the approximate rent on Madison Avenue is $750 per square foot. Causeway Bay is $499 per square foot, Champs Elysees is $495 per square foot, and Oxford Street is $446.

However locations in cities of elegance, style, and glamour like Milan, Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid are not in the international retail top ten any more.

The rest of the list is predicated on the peripatetic proletariat. Sheer volume of pedestrian commerce and limited amounts of prime retail space in the Apkujung in Seoul Korea, Trade House GUM in Moscow, the Tsakalof in Athens, and the Kaufingerstrasse in Munich allow these locations to command the world's top retail rents for the first time.

Every corner of the globe now has at least one high rent retail mecca. Retail rents are a reflection of sales volume and we are finding that locations like the Apkujung, that commands $416 per square foot, Trade house GUM at $300 per square foot, Tsakalof, $266 per square foot, and Klaufingerstrasse, $427, have incredibly high levels of foot traffic. What the stores in these locations lack in high-ticket items, they make up by selling a larger volume of more modestly priced merchandise that justifies their top ten rents.

This also holds true in New York. One notices the same inclination: some streets on the New York list are there for the most part because of glitter and glamour. The others are important and the retail rents are high mainly because of their accessibility to the pedestrian and vehicular audience.

First of all, the street with the most expensive retail rents in the world in also the street with the most expensive retail rents in New York City: East 57th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Madison. Known as the "Tiffany Block," it really encompasses all four corners of Fifth as well as the Street.

On the corners, one finds Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, and Warner Brothers, home to Bugs, Daffy, and Pecos Pete, an eclectic group. This stretch of 57th Street is the same: there are, of course, Tiffany's and Warner Bros., then the Nike Town flagship in Trump Tower, Tourneau, Warner Bros., Levis, Swatch, Escada, Burberrys, Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and, ensconced on the ground floor of the extraordinary LVMH Building, Christian Dior. As stated before, the rents average $750 per square foot.

Although the importance of many or the streets listed is simply because of lack of space and exceptional foot traffic, the pursuit of Luxury and Elegance is still holding its own. In the future, I both shopping venues will be desired. Neither will eclipse the other.
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Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Jun 28, 2000
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Next Article:Location still a major factor, even in high-tech environment.

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