By  on April 16, 2007

Manhattan's retail real estate market continued to bustle with new tenants and rising rents in the first quarter of 2007, according to a report from Cushman & Wakefield.

Among the new deals cited by Joseph R. Harbert, chief operating officer of Cushman & Wakefield's New York Metro Region, Anne Fontaine relocated from 600 square feet at 687 Madison Avenue to 6,200 square feet at 677 Madison Avenue, where she will open her North American flagship early next year.

CB2, a sister store of Crate & Barrel, is entering Manhattan, having signed an 18,000-square-foot lease at 451 Broadway for its first location outside of Chicago. Another new furniture retailer, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, entered the market at 210 Lafayette Street. 

Billabong is opening a 1,600-square-foot store at 112 West 34th Street, where W&H Properties will reconfigure the building's lobby to accommodate the store.

Foreign retailers continued to show interest in the Manhattan retail market. Japanese retailer Muji signed on as the first retail tenant at The New York Times building, and took a lease at 455 Broadway in SoHo. According to C&W executives, South Korean retailers are also showing interest in entering the Manhattan market.

"Foreign retailers believe opening locations in Manhattan is the best way to get U.S. exposure for their brand," said Harbert. "Our retail services professionals are in the midst of speaking with numerous overseas retailers — ranging from apparel to skin care merchants — who are interested in making their mark on the Manhattan market."

At the end of the first quarter, asking rents on Madison Avenue averaged $985 per square foot, and the most expensive spaces were asking $1,200 per square foot.

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