From the monthly archives: "May 2008"

True Religion Heads to the Financial District

True Religion Brand Jeans will bring some casualwear to the land of the suit. The denim manufacturer and retailer said it will open in October a store with 1,700 square feet of space on two levels at 14 Wall Street, between Broadway and Broad Street, in the Financial District here.

In addition, sources said True Religion will open a unit on Broadway near Union Square on July 31st. As reported, the company will unveil a 1,850-square-foot unit at The Shops at Columbus Circle at the Time Warner Center on July 2.

In the last three to five years, Wall Street has been touted as the next hot retail frontier by real estate brokers and developers eager to attract national brands and luxury tenants in the wake of 9/11.

Hermes and Thomas Pink opened in the past year. More recently, Tiffany & Co., Canali and Tumi unveiled stores.

 “There’s tremendous momentum,” said Darrell Rubens, managing director of Winick Realty, who represented the property owner. “I’ve been focusing on Wall Street and Broad Street for the last five years. We’ve pretty much filled up all of Wall Street and are now expanding on Broad Street and a couple of other streets. (For spaces) on Wall Street, we won’t even look at someone unless they’re a Fifth Avenue retailer or a great SoHo tenant.”

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Catsimatidis Moves Forward With Myrtle-Flatbush Ave. Ext. Development

FORT GREENE — John Catsimatidis is moving forward with his planned development along Myrtle Avenue east of Flatbush Avenue Extension in Fort Greene.

Ground has been broken on Phase I of Red Apple Group/John Catsimatidis’ development on Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene. New renderings are forthcoming from Dattner Architects.
Image courtesy of Winick



Ground has been broken, he said, on Phase I which will include a Duane Reade and an as-yet unnamed neighborhood-style supermarket — “in deference to community desires that have been ardently expressed by local officials.”

And, despite recently published reports to the contrary, Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of Red Apple Real Estate Inc. and a stated Republican candidate for mayor, will proceed with his plan to include affordable housing units in subsequent phases when the needed tax exempt bonds become available from the city’s Housing Development Corporation (HDC).

Catsimatidis’ development will eventually include three low rise buildings — bounded by Ashland Avenue and Prince Street — and a high-rise tower between Prince Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension.

This first phase, at the corner of Ashland, will include approximately 85,000 square feet of what he describes as “middle-tier market rate residential apartments,” in addition to the approximately 22,000 square feet of retail space.

As for his plans to include affordable housing (in the stated 50/30/20 ratio) in the two adjacent low rise buildings, possibly Phase II, they are still on the table but have been “delayed by the current unavailability of tax exempt bonds that are a vital component of financing such projects.” Red Apple continues to maintain a dialogue with the HDC, he added.

The first phase is being financed with his personal funds plus market rate bank financing, he said, adding that he was pleased to make this investment in Downtown Brooklyn.

“New Yorkers deserve the best quality of life possible and moving forward today with a development that will include a neighborhood supermarket and a drugstore to meet the needs of this underserved community is the right thing to do and I am pleased that we were able to structure a transaction that will allow this to happen.”

As previously reported in the Eagle, Winick Realty Group, which is handling the retail signings for this project, had already confirmed that Duane Reade will be the anchor tenant and agents “are in talks with two supermarkets” to take the bulk of the space.

By breaking ground now, even in this difficult economic climate, Red Apple “will put part of the property into productive use and fulfill a community need for neighborhood retail services rather than simply holding the entire parcel vacant until there is an improvement in the economic conditions that have caused many Brooklyn development projects to be either delayed or cancelled,” Catsimatidis said.

For more, download the full article in PDF

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Denim co. comes to 14 Wall

Capstone Equities, owner of 14 Wall Street, has signed a new lease with True Religion Brand Jeans for 700 s/f, announced Joshua Zamir, managing principal of Capstone Equities, and Daniel Ghadamian, principal of Capstone Equities. The landmark, 37-story building owned by Capstone Equities and The Carlyle Group, is located in FiDi between Broadway and Broad Street and across from the New York Stock Exchange. Current retail tenants in the ground floor space include Equinox Health Club and Capital One bank.

14 Wall Street is also currently in the market to lease an addition 22,000 s/f of ground floor retail space. In this transaction, the tenant was represented by The Kaufman Organization and Capstone Equities was represented by Winick Realty Group. The asking rent for the space was $700 psf. 

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Strong Survivors

Retail market sorts the men from the boys

Retailers remain cautious but also continue to sign deals. Local and foreign tenants are taking the opportunity to get a foot in the city door while some of the national chains have paused to figure out their game plans. Getting financing to build out stores has become an issue for some, while others that are well capitalized are sloughing off those worries.

Kim Mogull, CEO of Mogull Realty, said her tenants, especially the restaurants like the One Restaurant Group which among others has Bagatelle, STK steakhouse and Tenjune, are forging ahead seeking locations because they are self-sufficient when it comes to financing.

“There may be fewer tenants but the ones out there are the stronger tenants,” said Mogull. “Many are very careful and looking for more contributions from the owners as a viable way to overcome the tightening of capital. It keeps the face rents up and that’s helpful to the owners.”

At the same time, brokers like Faith Hope Consolo say it’ a “more reasonable” market. “Everybody is less anxious,” said Consolo, the Chairman of the retail division of Prudential Douglas Elliman. “The owners are being more cooperative, and the tenants know they are in a good negotiating plaace and everyone knows there are deals to be made.”

Similarly, Darrell Rubens, managing director of Winick Realty Group, says he’s seeing a change of gears with some tenants being super-aggressive now that the banks aren’t competing for the choice corners. “We’re starting to see the drug stores heating up again, and phone stores like AT&T and their competitors,” Rubens said.

But some tenants are taking a “wait and see” attitude. Benjamin Fox, president of Winick Realty Group, said: “They aren’t doing poorly but many think rents are coming down and are going to stand on the sidelines until they do or they don’t–and the rents themselves are not going down. One thing that’s for certain, all of the hot streets are hot.”

For more, download the full article in PDF

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Flower Power

The old Flower Market area is finally coming into its own – if you consider a long swath of blocks filled with new tall towers and crisp and bright retailers an improvement.

Sure the old florist shops filled the sidewalks with greenery (uh, and bugs) and there were cool flea markets on some weekend afternoons, but the gritty blocks were otherwise creepy and speckled with porn shops and graffiti.

It took more than 15 years for the area to be finally rezoned in 1995, and now most of the buildings have been completed or are underway, bringing in residents and lots of new retail.

“First came the Starbuck’s and Duane Reade and the service tenants,” said Bruce Spiegel of Rose Associates. “But now you begin to see a different kind of tenants.”

Gracious Home has just leased a huge blockfront store, and so has David’s Bridal. There’s a Pet Cantral and oh, plenty more offerings on their way.

“Gracious Home, a house-wares store, recognized the area has matured as a high-end rental and a condo market,” added Spiegel.

Welcome to the upcoming shopping oasis that is filling in the strolling area from Ladies’ Mile to Herald Square.

“That whole chunk is the last bastion of underdeveloped turf in the city,” said Benjamin Fox, president of Winick Realty Group predicting. “It will turn into Third Avenue on the Upper East Side.”

Historically, the retail stopped at 23rd Street, explained Ariel Schuster, senior vice president of Robert K. Futterman & Associates which leased to David’s Bridal.

“David’s looked everywhere for its Manhattan store and we convinced them the retail is moving north,” Schuster said.

David’s Bridal settled on 11,500 feet plus a small basement for its first Manhattan store on the bottom of 735 Sixth Avenue, the Chelsea Straus condo developed by LCOR and being marketed by Prudential Douglas Elliman. A T-Mobile and a spa are two other tenants.

Fox and Winick colleagues are currently marketing retail space in two more upcoming towers on the west side of the Avenue. 855 Sixth is under  development by the Chetrit Group at W. 30th Street, while the 47-story 885 Sixth will slightly cantilever over the building just south of the Manhattan Mall at Greeley Square.

Winick is asking $300 a foot for the ground floor spaces, but Fox noted there is a lot of multilevel space and the price is based on proximity to Herald Square.

The spaces in the middle blocks north of 23rd Street are fetching rents from $125 to $200 a foot, depending the size and location.

Gracious Home leased all the 25,000 feet of retail in the Rose building known as Chelsea Landmark that was recently completed.

The shop will have 17,000 feet on the street level and the rest underground, plus the entire blockfront and both corners between W. 25th and 26th Streets.

For more, download the full article in PDF

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New Lease on Life

Historical buildings are beautiful to behold but challenging for retailers.  When the right one comes along, however, it can turn what could have been an obstacle into a winning combination.

Most retailers simply want to start with what’s called a “plain vanilla box” – a white sheet-rocked store ready for their own dramatic installation.

The ground floors of landmarked city buildings are far from plain and are often quite dramatic already, leaving their owners scratching their heads for a solution that can make the glorious space into a fetching sales floor without losing the “Wow” factor.

“Most of the buildings we’ve been working on Downtown are landmarked,” said Darrell Rubens, managing director of Winick Realty Group.

To date, he’s succeeding in bringing True Religion to 14 Wall Street, BMW to 67 Wall, and Thomas Pink to 63 Wall.

For more, download the full article in PDF

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