NEW YORK — Urban Outfitters has signed a lease to open a 15,000-square-foot store in the Metro movie theater building at 2626 Broadway at West 99th Street, which long has been vacant.
This story first appeared in the January 8, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The building, built in 1932, is considered an Art Deco jewel with 50-foot ceilings and other period details. The store will open late this year or early next year, said Ted Marlow, president of Urban Outfitters.
“It’s not the easiest space to work with,” Marlow said. “That’s why [the opening] is still a year out. We still have some work to do.”
The landmarked and famed exterior of the building will be preserved.
“Leased with the existing theater marquee, the historic facade offers an unprecedented signage opportunity and great visibility,” said Benjamin Fox, president of Winick Realty Group, who represented the net-leaser. “The deal is a testament to Urban’s strength in the marketplace and forward-thinking design approach.”
The store will be spread over two levels with a mezzanine. It’s 20 percent larger than average Urban Outfitter units.
Marlow said Urban Outfitters designs its stores as one-offs to make sure the retailer takes advantage of the architecture of each site. “We don’t have a specific prototype that we roll out,” he said. “We will take advantage of the inherent design elements in the space. That’s pretty much the approach we take to all locations.”
The company decided to open a store on upper Broadway based on the sales at a store on Broadway and 72nd Street. “We felt that we had additional opportunity further north on the West Side,” Marlow said. “There’s the proximity to Columbia University and the student population, and resident late-teens who live with their parents. It’s also a good area for those that are out of their parents’ houses. There’s a lot of good things with customer mix and we like the business we’re doing 20 blocks south.”
Urban has been searching for a location in close proximity to Columbia, but couldn’t seem to find the right property. “We would have liked to be further north, but we liked the building at 99th Street,” Marlow said.
Urban operates six stores in Manhattan but would like to open more. “We’re always looking at location opportunities in Manhattan,” Marlow said. “Given the density of population, particularly with our core customer base, we don’t feel we’ve overpenetrated — nor do we feel we’ve saturated — the market.”