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Editorial SupplementsRetail

Manhattan: The Forgotten Borough?


By Faith Hope Consolo, chairman, Retail Sales, Leasing and Marketing Division, Douglas Elliman

 Those of us who love Neiman Marcus’ style and merchandise but can’t manage the prices have long had to trek to the suburbs to get our fix at their LastCall stores, but not for much longer – the off-price division is entering New York City at the Brooklyn Municipal Building, 210 Joralemon Street, reports my friend Lois Weiss in the New York Post.

Not in Manhattan, home to Neiman’s division Bergdorf Goodman, but Brooklyn. Much as I noted in my last dispatch, the outer boroughs are busy! LastCall will share the space with Sephora, and soon-to-open It’s Sugar and YogaWorks. And if you look at recent leasing announcements (including some below), many national retailers are expanding in our boroughs – Nordstrom Rack, a major competitor to LastCall, now is opening in Queens as well as Brooklyn. It’s like Manhattan is the forgotten borough!

That, of course, is an exaggeration, but it’s easy to understand why retailers, particularly off-pricers are flocking to the boroughs: to paraphrase Willie Sutton, they’re where the people are. In a city where the idea of a $100 million apartment is being discussed, even extremely affluent residents are looking beyond Manhattan residences and buying or renting in established neighborhoods as Brooklyn Heights or up-and-coming neighborhoods such as Greenpoint or Astoria. And New Yorkers without six- or seven- or eight-figure incomes have always found more affordability outside Manhattan. Retailers now realize the tremendous opportunity there, as well as comparatively lower rents. The retail boom in Manhattan is just beginning to benefit the rest of the city – and the rest of New Yorkers. It’s a fun time.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, I’m excited to see what new retailers will be coming to the city, and the United States. Globalization will continue, and I predict that 2014 will be the year of Australia. We’ve seen a recent trend toward brands from a country or region coming here in groups; last year saw an influx of brands from France and Scandinavia. With Zimmermann, Sass & Bide, and Aesop already here and other chains looking, expect more from Down Under shortly!

The Federal Reserve’s January 2014 Beige Book agreed, as our local retailers reported holiday sales on or ahead of plan, despite challenging weather, which may also have been a factor in a year-over-year decline in November hotel revenues. Broadway remains strong, and theatergoers will continue to boost shopping around the city.

Locating around the city are some great new stores. Roundabout’s second Madison Avenue location will be at 1100 Madison Avenue, perfect for its luxury vintage apparel and accessories. Lush Spa opened earlier this month at 783 Lexington Avenue, while La Don beautifies those who trek to 78 Franklin Street. Gotham Bikes and Exceed Physical Culture Studio are taking 97 Reade Street. Manhattan’s first Smashburger, and a new Dunkin’ Donuts, will come to 10 West 33rd Street. Gap Outlet will open by year-end at the former Rite-Aid space at 37-32 82nd Street in Jackson Heights, its second store in Queens. Mondo Cane is relocating to 50 Lispenard Street. Brooklyn Denim Co. will make its debut in its namesake borough at 39 Norman Avenue in Greenpoint.


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