By Liana Grey
The National Football League opened its first New York pop-up store earlier this week, on the ground floor of the newly renovated Class A office tower at 1095 Avenue of the Americas.
Alan Schmerzler of Cushman & Wakefield represented the landlord, the Blackstone Group, in the transaction.
“We developed list of companies that have powerful and prominent brands but don’t have permanent retail outposts,” said Shchmerzler. “We offered the space to a variety of companies, the NFL among them.”
At the 10,000 s/f space, which boasts 370 feet of wrap-around frontage with direct views of Bryant Park, the league will sell a variety of Nike jerseys, rhinestone t-shirts by Cuce Apparel, and other merchandise offered by NFL licensees.
The store will close at the end of the month, following the NFL’s three-day 2012 draft.
On Monday morning, current and former NFL players attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spent an hour at the shop assisting customers.
As an additional promotional tool, the Vince Lombardi Trophy, awarded each year at the Super Bowl, will be on display through April 14.
The NFL is not the first sports league to open a large pop-up in Manhattan. At the start of the holiday shopping season last November, the National Basketball Association set up a temporary, 6,000 s/f shop at 590 Fifth Avenue, while scouting locations for a permanent Manhattan flagship; according to the NBA’s website, the league is still hunting for a permanent space to sell its jerseys, footwear, and other merchandise.
And further downtown, Major League Baseball operated a temporary 36,000 s/f store, known as the “fan cave,” at the corner of Broadway and West 4th Street last March.
Manhattan’s food and fashion industries, too, have seen a rise in pop-ups that allow companies test out new concepts and neighborhoods, while helping landlords showcase the possibilities of a retail space.
In addition to providing revenue, “it activates and animates a space,” said Shchmerzler, adding that some prospective tenants have trouble visualizing an active storefront.
Last year, celebrity chef John Fraser signed a nine-month lease for What Happens When, an experimental restaurant with regularly changing food options, lighting, and décor at 25 Cleveland Place in NoLiTa. The tenant was brought in after the popular French restaurant Le Jardin Bistro shut down.
This past November, a pop-up Uniqlo store opened on Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District, and during the summer, the clothing company leased yet another temporary space on the Upper East Side.
“Over and again, we have seen how a short-term strategy such as this helps secure a long-term tenant,” Faith Hope Consolo, chair of Prudential Douglas Elliman’s retail division, said in a statement after the Third Avenue shop opened.
Retail listings large and small are frequently marketed as potential temporary shops.
Several weeks ago, for instance, the property management firm PEP Real Estate described a 5,000 s/f boutique storefront with a working fireplace and commercial kitchen at 76 Wooster Street in SoHo as an ideal space for everything from a restaurant to a pop-up.
Such spaces act as a stepping stone for potential retailers. After closing their pop-ups, “some of these companies are so successful that they wake up and say, we need a permanent space,” said Shchmerzler.