Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — Another pocket of Manhattan is filling up fast with national chains.
Next spring, on East 86th Street, Banana Republic plans to open an 18,000-square-foot store on the northeast corner of Third Avenue, on the site of a former Woolworth’s.
And Victoria’s Secret will open a 12,500 square-foot, three-level unit at 163-165 East 86th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues, on the site of a Strawberry store, which is planning to move out after the end of the year.
East 86th Street is one of the most trafficked parts of the city, but up until recently, it was primarily marked by a hodgepodge of local merchants, budget chains and fast food establishments.
“This area has become very active with new retailers and it’s not just fashion,” said Robert Futterman, chief executive officer of Robert K. Futterman & Associates LLC. “The whole area is changing.”
Midtown, particularly Rockefeller Center and the Times Square area, as well as 34th Street, Flatiron, Fifth Avenue and SoHo, were swamped by upscale chains in the Nineties. It’s happened later on the 86th Street corridor. Within the last year, Futterman noted, Barnes & Noble opened on 86th between Second and Third Avenues; Circuit City opened around the same time next door to the book chain; Sprint PCS opened on 86th between Lexington and Third, and Wolf Camera opened on 86th between Lexington and Park.
“National retailers are recognizing that in this part of New York, they can do an incredible sales volume,” Futterman said. “It’s got some of the best demographics — a combination of a central business district and strong residential population with foot traffic seven days and seven nights a week, meaning very late trade hours. There’s also a major subway stop and a dozen movie theaters.
“When we work with retailers, we not only suggest Flatiron, SoHo, Midtown or Wall Street. We also educate them about East 86th Street.”
Futterman said asking rents are running $175 to $225 per sqaure foot on a ground floor, or about half the price of Madison Avenue. Futterman, along with the Georgetown Group, represented Victoria’s Secret in the 86th Street deal, and was the sole broker on the Banana Republic transaction.
He said he also brokered two Banana Republic deals elsewhere in Manhattan: a 19,000-square-foot space at 1110 Third Avenue at 65th Street, which will replace a 4,000-square-foot store at Third Avenue and East 67th Street, and a 7,500-square-foot site at 111 Eighth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets, enabling the retailer to expand its current 4,600-square-foot Chelsea location.
The Banana Republic opening on 86th Street seems surprising, since it already operates on Madison and 85th Street. But Futterman said, “85th and Madison has a more high-end clientele, but there’s more foot traffic on 86th and Third.”