Retail rents in Manhattan continue to climb. Fueled by increasing demand for luxury goods, prices on Madison Avenue rose from an average of $701 in the spring to an estimated $760 this fall, according the the Real Estate Board of New York. New to the list is 125th Street in Harlem, reflecting the revitalization of that neighborhood’s major shopping thoroughfare. Average rents on Seventh Avenue rose by almost $60 since the spring, while on 42nd Street, rents are up by about $70 in just six months.

This story first appeared in the October 14, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

  1. 34TH STREET: BETWEEN FIFTH AND SEVENTH AVENUES
    81.2 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $290; fall 2003: $160

    The most desirable area is on the north side of 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, where Zara, Ann Taylor Loft and Victoria’s Secret are located. But big deals are being made farther west. Warehouse of Shoes, for example, opened a 7,700-square-foot store at Penn Plaza next to Kmart between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.
  2. 42ND STREET: BETWEEN SIXTH AVENUE AND EIGHTH AVENUES
    60 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $240; fall 2003: $150

    The city’s plan to clean up 42nd Street began with restoring the theaters. When the Walt Disney Co. signed up for the New Amsterdam project, it got the ball rolling and marked the first in a string of entertainment and retail projects that now include Madame Tussauds, the New Victory Theater for children and retailers such as Gap, Sanrio’s Hello Kitty store and Quiksilver.
  3. 125TH STREET: RIVER TO RIVER
    40 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $70; fall 2003: $50

    Harlem’s 125th Street has been undergoing a renaissance, attracting retailers such as MAC, H&M and Starbucks. The Children’s Place has two units on 125th Street and the Marriott is doing a project on the corner of 125th and Park with retail. Harlem U.S.A. was a symbol of the neighborhood’s resurgence when it opened in 2000 with Old Navy and the Magic Johnson Theaters. Former president Bill Clinton gave the area a psychological boost when he opened his office on the thoroughfare.
  4. SEVENTH AVENUE: BETWEEN 42ND AND 47TH STREETS
    26.9 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $330; fall 2003: $260

    Seventh Avenue in the Times Square district doesn’t command the rents of its Broadway neighbor, which has higher pedestrian counts, but it’s nonetheless teeming with tourists. Retailers include R.A.G., Sunglass Hut and Perfumania, and supersized restaurants such as Bubba-Gump Shrimp and Paramount Cafe. At the new 5 Times Square, where Champs and the Times Square Brewery opened, the Red Lobster eatery has quickly become the top producer in the chain.

  5. BROADWAY: BETWEEN 42ND AND 47TH STREETS
    17.9 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $460; fall 2003: $390

    A recent deal that will put Fleet Bank at 1515 Broadway set a record for the stretch between 42nd and 47th Streets in Times Square. The bank will reportedly pay $500 a square foot. An available space on the same block reportedly has a $550 price tag. Stores like ESPN Zone, Planet Hollywood, Toys ‘R’ Us and Foot Locker benefit from Time Square’s seven-day-a-week business, its 12 million square feet of office space and its hotels.
  6. MADISON AVENUE: BETWEEN 57TH AND 67TH STREETS
    11.7 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $760; fall 2003: $680

    Madison Avenue is becoming a jewelry destination. In addition to Damiani, Chanel and Graff, Swiss jeweler DeGrisogono is opening a store in the former MacKenzie Childs space. Judith Leiber on Friday is opening a flagship at 680 Madison Avenue at 61st Street in the former Maxim’s de Paris restaurant. Judith Ripka is moving from 673 Madison to a larger space up the avenue. N.V. Perricone, the costly skin care brand, is coming to the neighborhood and Louis Vuitton plans to open its third Manhattan store at number 845.
  7. BROADWAY: BETWEEN BATTERY PARK AND CHAMBERS STREET
    10 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $110; fall 2003: $100

    New residential projects will bring more than 3,000 units to lower Manhattan next year. Luxe hotels such as the Regent Wall Street, Ritz-Carlton and Millennium Hotel have helped revitalize downtown Manhattan. Banana Republic opened a store in the World Financial Center earlier this year and Ann Taylor is seeking to expand its presence in the area. The new World Trade Center will have 650,000 square feet of retail space and could be anchored by a department store.
  8. FIFTH AVENUE: BETWEEN 49TH AND 59TH STREETS
    9.3 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $700; fall 2003: $640

    Though still a luxury bastion, Fifth Avenue is attracting more populist retailers. Zara opened a flagship on the avenue in the former Façonnable space between 54th and 55th Streets. A&F next year will open its own flagship at 720 Fifth Avenue, where Fendi is now located. H&M in 2000 planted its flag on Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, and Liz Claiborne in 2003 turned its store on Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street into the first U.S. unit of Mexx, a Netherlands-based company it acquired in 2001. But plenty of others, including an upcoming Pucci boutique in the St. Regis Hotel, are flying the luxury banner.

  9. BROADWAY: BETWEEN 72ND AND 86TH STREETS
    9 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $240; fall 2003: $220

    While the Upper West Side always has been viewed as a poor cousin to the Upper East Side’s upscale retail scene, that perception is beginning to change and the opening of Barneys Co-op at 2151 Broadway at 75th Street further proves the point. The opening of the Time Warner Center — with retailers such as Cole Haan, Coach, Hugo Boss and J. Crew — also is spurring interest in the Upper West Side as a serious shopping district.
  10. BROADWAY: BETWEEN HOUSTON AND BROOME STREETS
    6.2 percent; fall 2004 asking price: $170; fall 2003: $160

    Esprit is one of the latest retailers to sign a lease on Broadway in SoHo. The space, at 583 Broadway, has about 13,000 square feet for selling over two levels. The opening of Bloomingdale’s on Broadway has given the street a boost and has helped ignite leasing activity in SoHo after a dormant stretch following 9/11.

SOURCE: THE REAL ESTATE BOARD OF NEW YORK FALL REPORT (ESTIMATED); *asking rents for available space based on REBNY member reports of current listings