NEW YORK — A brighter day may be dawning for Herald Center, the 10-story, 250,000-square-foot retail and office property located at the southwest corner of 34th Street and Broadway. JEMB Real Estate, which owns Herald Center, is planning to renovate the building and is looking for a fashion tenant to fill the primary space.
The real estate firm, which acquired Herald Center from Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, in 1989, reconceived the property as a big-box vertical mall populated by tenants such as Toys ‘R’ Us, Daffy’s and Payless Shoes. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles also has offices in the building.
JEMB plans to reclad the building’s exterior to create a brighter property. The real estate firm recently signed a lease with a college for 100,000 square feet of space that will allow it to reconfigure tenancies to make three floors of contiguous retail space available, real estate sources said.
JEMB is looking for a fashion retailer, according to one source, who added that a full-priced retailer may be preferred. “They would try to make a play for Topshop,” he said.
Herald Center has a long retail history, not all of it stellar. The property in the early Eighties was financed by the Marcoses, built on the site of what once was Saks Fifth Avenue and later E. J. Korvette. The Marcoses had luxury in mind for Herald Center with early tenants such as Charles Jourdan, Ann Taylor, Alfred Dunhill and Brookstone. But they didn’t last in the location.
Daffy’s operated a 97,000-square-foot unit at Herald Square. When the off-price retailer filed for bankruptcy protection last year, JEMB entered into an agreement to acquire Daffy’s leasehold interests, some real estate and some intellectual property. JEMB spent $45 million to buy-out Daffy’s 19 leases nationwide and hired CBRE Group to market the space.
Herald Center is located on one of the most heavily trafficked retail corners in Manhattan. Macy’s Herald Square is directly opposite Herald Center, and Manhattan Mall is one block to the south, with tenants such as J.C. Penney, Express, Victoria’s Secret and Sunglass Hut.