WARNER BROS. SAID TO CLOSE NY FLAGSHIP
Byline: David Moin
NEW YORK — Warner Bros. once boomed on the site, built it way up, but has reportedly decided to bail out of its world flagship here, according to retail real estate brokers.
The site, on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, is among the choicest and most expensive retail locations in the world, providing enormous visibility and traffic for any company ready to raise its profile.
One source said Warner’s will vacate the location after the holiday season and that the site is already being marketed. Officials at Warner’s and Allied Partners, which owns the prestigious property, could not be reached for comment Monday.
In 1996, Warner’s store — the biggest in the Warner Bros. Studio Store chain — was expanded to 75,000 square feet from 30,000, and from three to nine levels, with about two-thirds of the space for selling. When it opened in October 1993, with its array of apparel, gifts, toys and artwork based on Warner Bros. movies, cartoons and superheros, it was an instant success, drawing huge crowds, even lines waiting to get in, particularly tourists.
But, sources said that after the expansion and with Warner’s also operating a store in Times Square, productivity on the higher floors of the flagship started to slacken. Also, Warner’s plans to open on Columbus Circle in the mixed-use project under development on the site of the former Coliseum. The company reportedly had a long-term lease on 57th Street, with several years remaining.