By  on May 16, 2007

NEW YORK — Barneys New York is zeroing in on the Meatpacking District here.

The retailer is said to have targeted a space at 441 West 14th Street. Representatives of that location "have been working with Barneys," said a source with knowledge of the negotiations. "They're close to a deal with them. Is the deal done? No, it's not done."

Steve Bartha of Fort Lee, N.J.-based S.J. Bartha Consulting Group Inc., which represents Barneys in real estate matters, said talks are under way for a Meatpacking District site. He declined to confirm whether 441 West 14th Street is the location. "We're looking at numerous sites. I personally think the Meatpacking District is going to be the next SoHo,'' he said. "It's a little more edgy. SoHo has become an extended mall. The Meatpacking District is where we would like to go if we could find a spot."

A Barneys spokeswoman said "it's entirely possible" that the retailer is looking at the site. "We're in expansion mode," she added. "We haven't signed any lease. Nothing is in motion."

Jones New York bought Barneys in 2004 for $397.3 million. The retailer is believed to be on track to hit its goal of $1 billion in sales by opening more flagships and smaller Co-op contemporary units.

Bartha said the retailer is looking for 50,000 to 60,000 square feet of space in the Meatpacking District. Barneys' Madison Avenue flagship is 230,000 square feet; however, other stores outside Manhattan are significantly smaller. Barneys Co-op units range from 7,000 to 12,000 square feet. There are three Co-ops in Manhattan, on West 18th Street in Chelsea, Broadway on the upper West Side and Wooster Street in SoHo.

Previously, Barneys was said to be close to leasing a vacant building with more than 60,000 square feet at 401 West 14th Street. It was subsequently leased to Apple Inc., according to sources. "We were never on the Apple site," Bartha said.

The building at 441 West 14th Street has three levels with 15,000 square feet on each floor. It's next to Jeffrey New York and across from Diane von Furstenberg's new store and headquarters.Real estate brokers pointed out that the neighborhood will be gaining attractions such as the Whitney Museum of Art and the Standard Hotel, as well as the redeveloped High Line elevated railway.

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