NEW YORK — Developers want to bring a touch of Paris to Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Extra Place, an alley on the north side of East First Street, is intended to look like a slice of the Left Bank, a pedestrian mall lined with interesting boutiques and cafes.
It is Phase III of the Chrystie Place project, which began in 2005 with Avalon Chrystie Place, a 15-story building of 361 luxury and middle-income apartments, and an 85,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market, the city’s largest.
Phase II, a nine-story building on the north side of East Houston Street, will have 206 rental apartments, a lounge, roof terrace and fitness center for residents, along with 20,000 square feet of retail space.
Williams Jackson Ewing, the retail consultant and leasing agent for the developer, AvalonBay Communities, is leasing eight stores in Phase II to fashion tenants. The stores range in size from 800 to 2,500 square feet. “You won’t find many chains and there may be some one-of-a-kind things,” said Michael Ewing, a principal in WJE.
On Extra Place, a city-owned alley with a New York University building at one end, Ewing hopes to attract designers looking to open their first stores. “For wonderful designers with great ideas, this is a quick and easy way to go into business,” he said. “It’s a turn-key operation. They get a finished store. All the tenant needs to bring are the fixtures, inventory, sign and a can of paint.”
Ewing envisions the eight shops at Extra Place as selling apparel, accessories, handbags, belts, jeans, shoes and jewelry. “We’re working with a French bakery, which will do a cafe with seating that will spill out onto the street.”
Rents on Extra Place will be below market value to make the spaces affordable to first-time store owners. “SoHo is so expensive now. That, coupled with the fact that the chains have moved in, has made it really hard for someone starting out,” he said.
Even rents on the Bowery have gotten pricy, Ewing said, noting that $100 a square foot and up is not uncommon.
“We’ve had more prospects for Extra Place than any other phase of this project,” Ewing said. “For a designer there’s a comfort to knowing who will be around them.”