NEW YORK — Swarovski said that it will open a 1,550-square-foot Crystal Forest flagship at 200 West 34th Street and Seventh Avenue, a corner with one of the highest pedestrian counts in the city.
This story first appeared in the March 4, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Tourneau, which occupied the space for more than 40 years, closed last month. The Rolex specialist was somewhat out of place in the far more downscale Herald Square corridor and across the street from Macy’s, but its digital clocks on the facade of the store were icons. Real estate sources said the asking rent on the space was $467 a square foot, but it is not known whether the deal was completed at that price. The store is part of 1 Penn Plaza, which is owned by Vornado, the largest holder of real estate in the area. Swarovski’s new store will be next to the entrance of Pennsylvania Station and the Long Island Rail Road, Seventh Avenue subway and New Jersey Transit. Daniel Pisark, vice president of retail services for the 34th Street Partnership, said about 10,000 people pass through the entrance every hour at rush hour.
Crystal Forest is Swarovski’s new retail concept. The first Crystal Forest in Manhattan will open in May in Times Square, followed by the West 34th Street store in June. The first unit in the U.S. bowed in November on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Swarovski in 2008 opened a Crystal Forest in Tokyo’s Ginza district. “The West 34th Street store won’t be our main store in New York,” a Swarovski spokeswoman said. “We are planning to open a couple of others. We’re expanding. We have 230 boutiques around the country.”
The Swiss company operates an existing store in Rockefeller Plaza.
The Chicago Crystal Forest flagship is designed to look like a modern crystal forest with gray floors, white walls with a ribbed effect to suggest trees and a large chandelier that stretches from the front of the store to the back and is meant to evoke a stream. Swarovski’s full collection is sold at the Chicago Crystal Forest, including jewelry, fashion, watches, figurines, accessories, handbags and special Atelier and Daniel Swarovski pieces. The spokeswoman said it was too soon to discuss the 34th Street unit’s offerings.
Desigual, whose store at 362 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street is under construction, signed a lease to open a unit at 1330 Broadway and West 35th Street. The Barcelona-based fashion company opened its first U.S. store last year at 594 Broadway in SoHo. Other retailers with more than one store on 34th Street include H&M, with units at 1328 Broadway and 735 Seventh Ave. Footlocker is said to be closing its 120 West 34th Street unit — it will become an Original Levi’s store — but the one at 43 West 34th Street will continue to operate. “National chains are looking for leases that are expiring or trying to buy out leases with a few years left,” Pisark said.