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.

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