NEW YORK — Less than a year into his tenure as senior vice president of retail at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan, Michael Goldban is trying to put his mark on the 375,000 square feet of retail space spread across the Winter Garden, 200 Vesey Street and 225 Vesey Street.
Goldban wants Brookfield Place to be “a Millennial playground. Millennial culture isn’t just for Millennials. It’s urbanization. Millennials are also about experiences. How do we tap into that?”
Goldban cited Baja East’s recent pop-up shop not for the clothing it was selling, but for the experience it offered.
“What made it so interesting to us,” he said, “is they they did this takeover and made the space look like a den.” The theme was “Tarot Takeover,” and designers Scott Studenberg and John Targon, hired readers to foretell the futures of guests.
That 2,000-square-foot space was recently leased to a permanent tenant, Joie, the Southern California brand that draws inspiration from vintage designs. Joie will occupy the former Scoop store, which closed along with the entire 15-unit chain after the retailer said it was going out of business in May.
Joie operates 17 stores in the U.S., with units set to open in the River Oaks District in Houston and The Shops at Buckhead in Atlanta. Four existing Joie stores in Manhattan include units on Columbus and Madison Avenues, the Meatpacking District and SoHo. The stores have a residential look with fireplaces flanked by bergère chairs, wood herringbone floors and fresh flowers.
Goldban is trying to lease the limited amount of vacant space to concepts that will appeal to the all-important Millennial demographic.
When he discussed with Starbucks a possible unit at Brookfield Place, Goldban said he asked the Seattle coffee giant, “What are you guys going to do differently?”
The 4,000-square-foot space — Goldban said Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz was involved in the concept — will have a differentiated food offering and will serve beer and wine.
Another new retailer, whose lease is days away from being finalized, is focused on the Millennial crowd with an option to custom-make shoes. “The design looks like nothing else,” Goldban said. “We’re trying to be relevant to today’s shopper. Lower Manhattan is home to global influencers.”
Goldban said there are four or five vacant spaces left. In addition, 7,000 square feet adjacent to Financier and opposite where Jo Malone will soon open will be broken into smaller spaces. The goal is to accommodate three individual retailers.
Hudson’s Bay Co. is moving its offices to Brookfield Place in two months, said Goldban, the better to keep an eye on the “experimental Saks Fifth Avenue.” The retailer is opening an 85,000-square-foot unit at Brookfield Place in the fall.
“We’re taking everything we learned here and doing it better at Manhattan West. It’s a very difficult project. We want to nail the urban part. This [Brookfield Place] is more luxury, more bespoke.”
The seven million square foot development site is between 31st and 33rd Streets and between Ninth and 10th Avenues. About six million square feet have been earmarked for office space, there will be 844 apartment units and 225,000 square feet of retail.
“Manhattan West is more down and dirty. We’re taking into account the Millennial mind-set like the hipsters in SoHo or TriBeCa before those neighborhoods became overly ‘done’ or gentrified,” he said.
According to a source, Brookfield Place retailers had somewhat disappointing results when the mall opened. “I heard the stores that are comping are doing pretty well. John Idol [ceo of Michael Kors] was going to close the store but decided the numbers are improving,” said the source, who requested anonymity.
Michael Kors, which was also planning a store at Westfield World Trade Center, decided not to open there.
Joie was represented by Richard Hodos and Joseph Hudson of CBRE.