Underground retail is having a renaissance in Manhattan.
Westfield World Trade Center, the most high-profile example, will have more than 350,000 square feet of retail space in the Oculus and adjoining passageways of the transportation hub when it opens in August.
Westfield is also developing the Fulton Center, which encompasses five subway stations and nine transit lines. Combined with the Corbin building, Fulton Center has 66,000 square feet of retail space.
TurnStyle, a 14,700-square-foot space at the 59th Street Columbus Circle subway concourse, is a fraction of the size of Westfield World Trade and Fulton Center but ambitious nonetheless. The project will have 34 tenants when it opens in April. With the announcement of four new tenants on Tuesday, TurnStyle is almost fully leased.
Vendors will include a mix of offbeat boutiques and eateries along with several national chains such as Starbucks and Papyrus. The project is a partnership between the Metropolitan Transit Authority, Columbus TurnStyle and Goldman Sachs.
“I think the MTA would like to do this is again,” said project developer Susan Fine. “It’s a very transportable model.”
Fine said she plucked several stores from Chelsea Market. “There are so many great brands that need to find their audience,” she said. “I looked for stores with a little bit of edge that understand design and know how to reinvent themselves.”
Fab.com will open a pop-up shop offering a selection of apparel, accessories, jewelry and home products. Project No. 8, with outposts on Orchard Street and at the Ace Hotel, “has a great collection of designers and is also creating specific merchandise for us,” Fine said.
New Stand, with stores at the Union Square subway station and Brookfield Place, will sell an ever-changing array of gadgets and accessories, while the Flower Girl’s lush and edgy arrangements will be featured near TurnStyle’s entrance.
Previously announced retailers include men’s wear label Spectre & Co., Studio Manhattan Art + Design, Arth hats and Lush cosmetics. Food purveyors include West Village restaurant Ellary’s Greens, Philadelphia-based Meltkraft, restaurant and market Gastronomie 491 and Kit’s Underground Wine and Spirits.
“This is going to be a transformational project that will create a new market and is meeting a need,” said Robin Abrams and Lisa Rosenthal of Lansco, who are leasing TurnStyle. “It found new space in a city that’s crowded for retail and is providing product to people when they need it. It’s going to be a really fun way to commute.”