Resurging Corridors Making a Push
It’s an oft-heard saying that what’s old is new again, and nowhere is that more true than New York City. Our city goes through constant waves of growth, sometimes encompassing an entire neighborhood and sometimes focusing on a particular retail corridor. Right now, two shopping streets in particular are experiencing renewed growth and a new, exciting retail and food service mix that is returning them to their former respective glories.
For decades, Eighth Street was the go-to destination for customers shopping for shoes. Potential clients streamed up and down this Village block, with more than two dozen different footwear retailers populating the strip between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Over the years, tastes and trends changed and the excitement of the block began to wane. Apparel and shoe retailers began to rethink their strategies, opting to situate themselves on the avenues, which offer a stronger supporting cast of co-tenants and a heavier exposure to foot traffic. Eventually, Eighth Street was overrun with vacancies.
But those who wrote off Eighth Street as a vestige of a bygone era of retailing are today eating their words as the street is populated with exciting new retailers including a soon-to-open location for Liquiteria, as well as Amelie Bistro, Lena Coffeeshop and Stumptown, one of the pioneers in the neighborhood who wowed everyone with their build out and dedication to the site. This amazing turnaround can be credited in part to the revitalization of the Marlton Hotel, a hotel that was popular with celebrities in the earlier part of the 20th century before becoming a dormitory for the New School. BD Hotels, in partnership with Sean McPherson, purchased the Marlton House and in 2013, it reopened, bringing incredible levels of foot traffic to the once-declining Eighth Street. The area has grown so much in the last year that the trend is expanding beyond the boundaries of Eighth Street, as evidenced by the opening of the heavily-hyped Claudette Restaurant on Fifth Avenue and Ninth Street.
Another shopping corridor that is currently experiencing massive growth is Greenwich Avenue. The area was hit hard following the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in 2010. Nearby retailers were hurting from the loss of business as hopital workers and patients’ families were no longer spending money in the area. If there was ever a shopping street poised for a comeback, this is it.
For starters, the new Greenwich Lane development has brought six buildings’ worth of luxury condominiums to the neighborhood, while the Lenox Hill Hospital Health Center is bringing back some of the medical traffic that had been lost. Coinciding with this new wave of consumers coming onto Greenwich Avenue looking for places to spend their money, many of the old leases on this street have been turning over, creating an incredible opportunity for new retailers and, in particular, full-service restaurants and fast-casual food concepts to capture the buying power in the neighborhood.
The Meatball Shop was one of the first of these new retailers to see the value of Greenwich Avenue, opening up their storefront as early as 2011 in a space that formerly housed a tanning salon. I personally completed The Meatball Shop’s lease, as well as Greenwich Avenue deals for Oaxaca Taqueria, Le Baratin and Enopi Tutoring Center. I am also currently marketing 28 Greenwich Avenue, so I have seen first-hand how this area has changed in recent years. Back in 2011, rents on the street were closing in the vicinity of $110 per square foot, whereas now rents are closer to $170 per square foot, making Greenwich Avenue comparable to other high-traffic corridors in the West Village and similar neighborhoods including Nolita and the East Village.
In the intervening years, the culinary choices on this street have become second to none with options ranging from Mighty Quinn’s and Rosemary’s to Oaxaca Taqueria and Bluestone Lane. Filipino restaurant Lumpia Shack Snackbar is one of the latest concepts to sign a lease on the strip, garnering great reviews from The New York Times, among others. Beyond the food scene, Australian skin, hare and body care company Aesop Cosmetics has chosen Greenwich Avenue as a viable site for its brand expansion, as has popular menswear brand Save Khaki. Most of the stores are smaller sizes because of the footprints of the older buildings on the block, lending themselves well to these smaller operators who are willing to take a chance on a corridor on the upswing.
Both of these corridors are terrific examples of how nothing is ever lost in Manhattan. Streets and neighborhoods don’t die off but rather evolve, re-invent and modernize over time. A successful retailer must be able to look beyond the trendy locations of today and see the potential for tomorrow’s great success stories as well.
For more, download the full article in PDF
Mann Report – January 2015 – Resurging Corridors Making a Push
Winick Realty Group is one of New York’s prominent real estate firms specializing in retail leasing and advisory services. Over the years, Winick Realty has served a broad range of domestic and global clients, with a strong emphasis on long-term representation and expansion and growth strategies. Winick Realty Group is highly recognized as a forerunner in the retail real estate market.