By  on May 30, 2008

NEW YORK — True Religion Brand Jeans will bring some casualwear to the land of the suit. The denim manufacturer and retailer said it will open in October a store with 1,700 square feet of space on two levels at 14 Wall Street, between Broadway and Broad Street, in the Financial District here.

In addition, sources said True Religion will open a unit on Broadway near Union Square on July 31. As reported, the company will unveil a 1,850-square-foot unit at The Shops at Columbus Circle at the Time Warner Center on July 2.

In the last three to five years, Wall Street has been touted as the next hot retail frontier by real estate brokers and developers eager to attract national brands and luxury tenants in the wake of 9/11.

Hermès and Thomas Pink opened in the past year. More recently, Tiffany & Co., Canali and Tumi unveiled stores.

"There's tremendous momentum," said Darrell Rubens, managing director of Winnick Realty, who represented the property owner. "I've been focusing on Wall Street and Broad Street for the last five years. We've pretty much filled up all of Wall Street and are now expanding on Broad Street and a couple of other streets. [For spaces] on Wall Street, we won't even look at someone unless they're a Fifth Avenue retailer or a great SoHo tenant."

Rubens maintained that "a lot of tenants are looking downtown and there's a lot of buzz. We're now hearing that Apple and Barneys New York are looking downtown."

The asking rent of $700 a square foot for the True Religion space also might be an indication of the Financial District's relative health. Brokers said asking rents have been in the vicinity of $400 a square foot.

The reason retailers are keen on Wall Street has to do with the area's demographics, both residents and office workers. Since 2003, the number of residents living south of Chambers Street has doubled to 58,000, according to the Downtown Alliance. Household income since 2004 has nearly doubled as well, to $163,000, one of the highest in the city. With more than 300,000 workers in the Financial District and the occupancy rate for office space running at about 96 percent leased, the population is dense.New restaurants and hotels are coming to the area including Haru, Bobby Van's and Capitol Grill. "Nobu just signed a lease at 45 Broad Street for a hotel and restaurant," Rubens said. "The Setai from South Beach, Fla., is opening a restaurant, private club and condominium residences at 40 Broad Street. The W and Starwood Hotels are under construction downtown and a Global Hyatt Hotel is under construction."

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