By  on October 4, 2007

In its 2007 "Retail Real Estate Highlights" report, Colliers International noted markets are continuing to show healthy retail growth despite a sluggish economy and an even more difficult housing market. Thanks to heavy tourism and more high-end store openings, street-front retail is booming in places like New York, Miami and Los Angeles, said Ross Moore, senior vice president and director of market and economic research at Colliers. "Retail development ties in beautifully with urbanization. People are certainly not abandoning the suburbs, but there is so much more momentum for development in downtown areas across the country." With retail space being gobbled up, hotel and restaurant development has also been on the rise. "We're seeing more creative use of street-level space," noted Moore. "Retailers are interested in spaces on the ground floors of office buildings and high-end hotels."

FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK

Rent per square foot: $1,350

"By global standards, New York's Fifth Avenue ranks with the most expensive streets in the world," said Moore of Colliers. "London, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo have considerably higher rents than any other street in the U.S., but Fifth Avenue falls right into step with these global cities." Fifth Avenue has long been touted as one of the most popular shopping streets in the country. The corridor boasts specialty stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as flagships for major brands such as Prada, Fendi, Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton. Megaflagships from Giorgio Armani and Gucci are in the pipeline. And The Disney Store, FAO Schwarz, The Apple Store and the NBA Store surely cater to all those tourists.

UNION SQUARE, SAN FRANCISCO

Rent per square foot: $485

This area of San Francisco evolved into the city's premier shopping district following the great earthquake and fire of 1906. Today, five major department stores can be found there, including Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's, which opened last year as an anchor to the newly expanded Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street. Along with its second anchor, Nordstrom, other stores in Westfield include Juicy Couture, Coach, Kiehl's and H&M. Nearby is the Crocker Galleria, which houses Polo Ralph Lauren and Versace. Last month, Barneys New York opened its sixth full-line store of 60,000 square feet in a six-floor building at Stockton and O'Farrell Streets. Surrounding these shopping hot spots is a plethora of upscale hotels, including the Four Seasons-San Francisco, Sir Francis Drake Hotel and the Westin-St. Francis.RODEO DRIVE, LOS ANGELES

Rent per square foot: $480

The stretch of shops and boutiques on Rodeo Drive begins at Wilshire Boulevard to the south, and runs north to Santa Monica Boulevard. "The stores here are just getting more and more fabulous," said Moore. "High-end retailers here can afford to pay these rents." Giorgio Armani, Badgley Mischka, Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana are among some of those high-end retailers, while fine jewelry names like Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier, Harry Winston and Bulgari lure shoppers with their baubles and gem contributions to the upscale neighborhood.

KALAKAUA AVENUE, HONOLULU

Rent per square foot: $360

Located just off of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is Kalakaua Avenue, Hawaii's famed shopping corridor. With over 111,000 square feet of selling space, retail complex 2100 Kalakaua Avenue offers some of the best-known luxury brands in the world: Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Coach, Tod's, Bottega Veneta and Hugo Boss can all be found here. Five years ago, Chanel arrived with a 12,450-square-foot flagship — the three-story space was designed by architect Peter Marino. Prada boasts a total of five stores in Hawaii, which include its newly renovated two-level freestanding flagship on Kalakaua Avenue.

MICHIGAN AVENUE, CHICAGO

Rent per square foot: $250

"The density of the area's first-rate shopping is, quite simply, unmatched anywhere," said Frommers.com. The corridor's nickname, "Magnificent Mile," refers to the mile-long stretch of North Michigan Avenue between Oak Street and the Chicago River. Designer names line this street one after another. Beginning at Michigan Avenue and Oak Street, shoppers will find Chanel and Louis Vuitton, with Giorgio Armani just a few steps away. "The next block of Michigan Avenue has a New York vibe, thanks to the world's largest Polo Ralph Lauren — a four-floor, wood-paneled minimansion," said Frommers.com. Other nearby tenants include Tiffany & Co., Neiman Marcus, Crate & Barrel and Burberry. Neighborhood tourist draws include Niketown and the Virgin Megastore.

LAS VEGAS BOULEVARD, LAS VEGAS

Rent per square foot: $210Perhaps shopping isn't the first thing people think of when they travel to Sin City, but maybe it should be. With hotel casinos, such as The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, Mandalay Place, Via Bellagio and Wynn Esplanade offering plenty of upscale luxury brands in their spaces, it's hard to avoid the growing retail development here. The latest hotel casino to break ground is The Palazzo, a 643-square-foot, 53-story extension of The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo complex on the Las Vegas Strip. It will feature The Shoppes at The Palazzo, where more than 50 international boutiques are housed, from Ferragamo and Christian Louboutin to Coach and Ralph Lauren. Barneys New York will anchor the luxury complex. The Palazzo is scheduled to open on Dec. 20.

*WESTHEIMER ROAD, HOUSTON

Rent per square foot: $120

Only three years ago, annual rents along this retail corridor in Houston were roughly $66 per square foot. Situated just west of Houston proper, Westheimer Road expands the shopping area further with specialty retailers, superstores and galleries. Popular stand-alone shops include Tootsies Highland Village (men's and women's apparel), The Arrangement (home furnishings) and Antique Pavilion, an upscale multidealer shop with a plethora of antiques. The road also includes the Galleria Mall, which features a luxury lineup including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Chanel, Christian Dior and Ferragamo.

*LINCOLN ROAD, MIAMI

Rent per square foot: $120

"I think Miami has some of the best retail in the country," said Moore. "We're seeing some great tourism here, there are tons of restaurants and art galleries, and the apparel retail scene is excellent. I can see these rents climbing significantly." Located in Miami's South Beach, Lincoln Road is considered the best people-watching street in the area. Specialty stores include Anthropologie, Miss Sixty, Arden B., Lucky Brand Jeans and Bebe. And the Lincoln Road Mall is a pedestrian-only street mall in South Beach, which features jewelry, art galleries and restaurants like SushiSamba Dromo and La Lupa di Roma.+PROSPECT/GIRARD, SAN DIEGO

Rent per square foot: $100

A bevy of specialty shops lines this retail hot spot, located in La Jolla — San Diego's most upscale neighborhood. Warwick's La Jolla is a family-owned shop that features books, artisan jewelry and stationery, while Michele Coulon's Dessertiere, another family-owned shop, offers gourmet French cakes and confections. New and noteworthy boutiques that have recently entered the area include Elizabeth's Closet, which carries women's wear brands like Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, Rock Revival and We the People, and Emilia Castillo, a high-end home decor and jewelry shop. Meanwhile, tired shoppers can stop at one of the neighborhood spas like GAIA Day Spa and C Spa, which are also located here.

+WALNUT STREET, PHILADELPHIA

Rent per square foot: $100

The majority of shops, restaurants and art galleries located on Philadelphia's busy Walnut Street are located between Broad Street and 18th Street. Walnut Street also features Rittenhouse Row, an upscale shopping district that boasts some of the biggest names in the business, including Burberry, Tiffany & Co., Cole Haan, Polo Ralph Lauren and Diesel. And on nearby Chestnut Street, The Shops at Liberty Place is a retail complex which features J. Crew, Ann Taylor Loft and Jos. A. Bank, plus Express, Nine West and Victoria's Secret.

source: colliers international, a boston-based real estate brokerage company; * and + indicate ties; ONLY ONE RETAIL CORRIDOR IS REPRESENTED FROM EACH METRO AREA

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