LUXURY COMES TO SOHO

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — Roll over, SoHo.
The former artists’ enclave is going through yet another retail makeover, this time with high-end international chains moving in. According to brokers, the best locations are on Spring or Wooster Streets, a shift south from a few years ago. Not only is traffic good there, but leases signed six years ago are now coming up for renewal and landlords are looking for power tenants.
“Two years ago, the corner of Main and Main was Prince and Greene,” said Caroline Banker, executive vice president at Douglas Elliman Retail Office Group. “Today, it’s Spring and Wooster.”
Chanel and Kenzo opened late last year, Giorgio Armani is scheduled to open a home store on Greene Street this spring and now, according to sources, other luxury names are circling.
Cartier, currently going through a retail expansion, reportedly is interested in the neighborhood and real estate sources said the company has zeroed in on 141 Prince Street between Wooster Street and West Broadway, a space currently housing the Louis Meisel Gallery. A spokeswoman for Cartier would not comment on the report.
Several sources said that Helmut Lang has signed a lease for 142 Greene Street, the former Pace Wildenstein gallery that closed in late December. It would make the third Greene Street location for Lang, who has his offices and a signature store at 80 Greene Street and a beauty boutique at 81 Greene. A spokeswoman for Lang said that “nothing has been confirmed” and declined further comment.
The Todd Oldham store at 123 Wooster Street closed late last year. The store, which opened in September 1994, had housed the designer’s signature and bridge lines, as well as footwear and fragrance. Arche, the French footwear company, reportedly has signed a lease for that site. Sun Apparel, which owns Oldham’s name for fragrance and apparel, wasn’t interested in moving its jeanswear line into that space, according to Chris Nicola, executive vice president of Todd Oldham Jeans.
“SoHo was hopping before, but with smaller, younger companies,” said Banker, who has been working in the neighborhood for about 15 years. “Now it’s attracting the heavy hitters.”

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