creates new opportunities
National and international fashion retailers tend to focus on mature retail areas to
plant their first flag in Manhattan such as
Soho, Midtown, and the Flatiron District.
From there, they can spread out to open
doors in other growth areas such as Lower
Manhattan, which is generating buzz due
to new projects such as Brookfield Place,
Westfield World Trade Center, and the
Seaport District. “Lower Manhattan didn’t
have a lot of retail before. Now with all of
these projects, it is on everybody’s radar
screen,” says Strauss.
Brookfield Place in the Battery Park City
neighborhood officially opened in March
press with about 350,000 sq. ft. of restau-
rant and dining space in 3 World Trade
Center and 4 World Trade Center. The retail
complex will be home to about 150 tenants.
Brookfield Place is capturing more of
the upper end luxury market, while World
Trade Center Westfield is capturing more
the upper moderate retail mix. In addition,
the Howard Hughes Corp. is in the process
of redeveloping South Street Seaport as the
Seaport District, which will include about
365,000 sq. ft. of commercial space including a mix of retail, entertainment, and cultural attractions. A new iPic Theaters will
open there next summer, followed by the
opening of Pier 17 in 2017.
Other areas of the city sparking retailer
interest include the Flatiron District and
Fifth Avenue from 14th to 23rd Street.
In particular, tourists are increasingly
attracted to the Eataly, a large Italian
Marketplace at Fifth Avenue and 23rd
Street. The Eataly has changed the dynamic
of that market, notes Gibson. The rents
there are between $400 and $500 per sq.
ft. So it can be an easy way to enter a good
retail submarket with good co-tenancy
without stretching for big rents, he adds.
Overall, there are many opportunities for
retailers across different concepts and price
points. The biggest mistake made by retail-
ers unfamiliar with the Manhattan market
is to seek only the most recognizable ave-
nues, notes Consolo. For example, a space
just off Madison or Fifth Avenues com-
mands a dramatically lower rent than space
on one of those main corridors. Yet the side
streets still benefit from tremendous foot
traffic and consumer activity, she adds.
The best advice for retailers coming into
Manhattan is to be patient to find the right
fit for their store. If a retailer must stretch
to pay a higher rent for a must-have location, they are likely setting themselves up
for disappointment and possibly failure,
adds Gibson. “With prices as high as they
are, you have to be very, very careful on
how you are projecting revenue and early
pro formas, and also don’t sacrifice traffic
for cheaper rent,” he says.
Beth Mattson-Teig is
a freelance business writer
specializing in commercial
real estate, finance, and
South Street Seaport will be redeveloped as the Seaport District, which will include about 365,000 sq. ft. of commercial space including a mix of retail,
entertainment, and cultural attractions. A new iPic Theaters will open next summer, followed by the opening of Pier 17 in 2017.