No doubt about it: New York City is alive with retail activity. Various corridors across the island of Manhattan are hot, and though others have cooled, it’s not because they’re less interesting. In The Real Estate Board of New York’s spring 2005 report, some of the smaller corridors, such as 57th Street and Broadway, between 42nd and 47th Street, witnessed a decrease in their average asking prices for rent per square foot. But, as Michael Slattery, vice president of REBNY, pointed out, “It’s not necessarily because their demand is smaller. Oftentimes, the corridors are more attractive, higher-price spaces. The availability isn’t as great at the time of the report as it is for other locales.” Manhattan’s average asking rent for all space rose 6 percent to $103 per square foot.
- Downtown: Broadway, Between Battery Park and Chambers Streets Change in average asking price*: 44.9 percent 2005: $126; 2004: $87
The lower end of Broadway, near Battery Park, is witnessing more openings in its available retail space. So far, retailers such as Borders and Nine West have snatched up space in the area, which is making up for the retail losses in the World Trade Center, just west of this corridor. “What’s happening is that the foot traffic is picking up, the stability is coming back. People are anticipating retail’s return to the Trade Center site,” said REBNY’s Slattery.
- Upper Manhattan: Harlem, 125th Street, River to River Change in average asking price: 38.5 percent 2005: $90; 2004: $65
From the Hudson River to the East River, 125th Street has been privy to new retailers, as well. Stores such as H&M have moved in, as has the Harlem USA mall, a $65 million complex complete with a nine-screen Magic Johnson Theater multiplex. “The incomes of the population are higher nowadays, but north of 96th Street is still an affordable location,” said Slattery. “It’s the ideal combination: Retailers can afford the space and still be profitable.”
- Flatiron: Fifth Avenue, Between 14th and 23rd Streets Change in average asking price: 38 percent 2005: $189; 2004: $137
Everything from Gap and Daffy’s to Club Monaco and Anthropologie is found in Flatiron. But the lure could be that it’s not as crowded with tourists as some other areas. This shopping corridor has witnessed retail movement with its tenants in recent years. Last September, Esprit filled the store at 16th Street that once was Emporio Armani, and Coach expanded its Fifth Avenue location last year, having taken over next-door tenant Citibank.
- Soho: Broadway, Between Houston and Broome Streets Change in average asking price: 30.9 percent 2005: $212; 2004: $162
This district in lower Manhattan has seen increased demand in its asking rental prices, thanks in part to the influx of upscale retailers that have moved in — such as Bloomingdale’s, which opened its SoHo location in 2004. Dean & Deluca and Balthazar (at Prince Street) make for welcome pit stops during a day of shopping. The cool crowd will wander slightly off Broadway toward hip upscale shops such as Marc Jacobs, D&G and Louis Vuitton.
- Tribeca: Hudson Street, between Chambers and Canal Streets Change in average asking price: 27.8 percent 2005: $69; 2004: $54
Robert De Niro’s beloved TriBeCa witnessed an increase in its retail rental asking prices over the past year. De Niro has opened the Tribeca Film Center, Tribeca Grill (near Hudson) and Nobu. The Loft Residences at 116 Hudson — which also plans to offer retail space — is his latest undertaking. Slattery pointed out that retailers have even further incentive to open up their shops in an area if residential opportunities are also a possibility.
- Times Square: Seventh Avenue, between 42nd and 47th Streets Change in average asking price: 18.1 percent 2005: $320; 2004: $271
What better place to open up shop than in the tourist-heavy Times Square area? Along this strip of Seventh Avenue are retailers such as Quiksilver and hotels such as the Marriott’s Renaissance New York Hotel Times Square. Smack in the center of the corridor stands the Theater Development Fund’s TKTS discount Broadway tickets booth, attracting an estimated 750,000 visitors a year to the area.
- Midtown: Fifth Avenue, between 49th and 59th Streets Change in average asking price: 3.5 percent 2005: $742; 2004: $717
Fifth Avenue has long been known as one of New York’s busier retail corridors, with countless retailers — just take a look at that asking price, which is the highest of this bunch. And two of the city’s most well-known department stores also reside in this particular section of town: Bergdorf Goodman’s presence at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue has been felt since 1928, and Saks Fifth Avenue has lived at 49th Street since 1924.
- Upper West Side: Broadway, between 72nd and 86th Streets Change in average asking price: -2.1 percent 2005: $233; 2004: $238
With Lincoln Center to the south and Columbia University to the north, Broadway’s 14-block stretch along the Upper West Side has the potential to attract shoppers of all ages. Retailers such as Victoria’s Secret, L’Occitane and Banana Republic all can be found here, while popular food stores such as Zabar’s, Citarella and Fairway bring in the hungry shoppers.
- Madison Avenue, between 57th and 67th Streets Change in average asking price: -4.9 percent 2005: $667; 2004: $701
The asking price is down just slightly for Madison Avenue, arguably the most upscale avenue of retailers. This part of town still has the second-highest average asking rent of any other major retail corridor in the city. Shoe and accessories boutiques are well represented, with Cole Haan and Jimmy Choo taking retail spaces. Other boutiques in the area include Fred Leighton (jewelry), and Givenchy, Luca Luca and Chanel (clothing).
- Upper East Side: Third Avenue, between 60th and 72nd Streets Change in average asking price: -5.2 percent 2005: $183; 2004: $193
If shoppers aren’t crazy about the pricy boutiques along Madison Avenue, they can head east to Third Avenue, where Ann Taylor Loft, Gap and Eddie Bauer await them. The area also caters to expecting and new parents, with stores such as Mimi Maternity, The Children’s Place and Gymboree. Once the kids are dressed, take them to Dylan’s Candy Bar, a family-friendly candy shop at Third Avenue and 60th Street.
- Times Square: 42nd Street, between Sixth and Eighth Avenues Change in average asking price: -7.7 percent 2005: $156; 2004: $169
Theaters, restaurants and museums line this strip of 42nd Street, which was once well-known for its slew of peep shows. Nowadays, 42nd Street is more child- and family-friendly. The stores themselves are more of the touristy type, including Starbucks, Cold Stone Creamery, Lids and Yankee Clubhouse Store. Madame Tussauds wax museum and Loews and AMC Movie Theaters have locations here, as well.
- Midtown South: 34th Street, between Fifth and Seventh Avenues Change in average asking price: -8.4 percent 2005: $240; 2004: $262
This corridor of 34th Street offers a little of everything. With landmarks such as The Empire State Building, Penn Station and Madison Square Garden nearby, there is constant activity. Macy’s itself stretches along the north side of one entire block, from Sixth to Seventh Avenues. Manhattan Mall, just off 34th at Sixth Avenue, houses more than 50 stores, just across the street from Gap and Victoria’s Secret flagships.
- Times Square: Broadway, between 42nd and 47th Streets Change in average asking price: -16.9 percent 2005: $331; 2004: $398
What isn’t happening in this busy corridor nowadays? Between the popular tenants of Virgin Megastore, Sephora and Toys ‘R’ Us on Broadway, and the historic Howard Johnson’s Restaurant closing to give way to new stores, retail life sure is booming around Times Square. Just north of this corridor at 48th Street, 1600 Broadway soon will see a luxury residential high-rise, with at least one floor of retail space, according to the Times Square Alliance.
- Midtown: 57th Street, between Fifth and Park Avenues Change in average asking price: -37.2 percent 2005: $534; 2004: $850
Though 57th Street’s asking price has decreased the most, it is one of the smaller retail corridors in Manhattan. Slattery also noted, “Change in price can also depend on available space. And less availability can be the sign of a good market.” This section of Midtown holds more than just upscale retailers such as Burberry and Christian Dior: Offices such as the North American headquarters of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton are here, too.
Source: The Real Estate Board of New York, Spring 2005 Retail Report. *Asking price is as of March 2005, per square foot, available ground floor space only.