Thursday, September 1, 2011

Manhattan boasts 4 of Top 10 retail strips

Manhattan shopping meccas dominate Americas, and Fifth Avenue takes the honors for the priciest in the world for the tenth year in a row. Rents are up strongly except on Madison Avenue.

By Theresa Agovino

For the 10th year in a row, Fifth Avenue ranks as the most expensive shopping street in the world, according to a new report from Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

Rents on the stretch of the storied thoroughfare between 49th street and Central Park South averaged $2,250 a square foot in the year ended June 30—a 22% leap over the corresponding period one year earlier. What's more, Fifth Avenue's rents are 16% more than those along the planet's second-most expensive street, Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.

“New York is the top of everyone's list as a global destination,” said Gene Spiegelman, an executive vice president at Cushman. He added the hordes of tourists parading up Fifth Avenue make it the perfect spot for retailers to showcase their brands.

“Retailers believe in having a brick and mortar flagship store as part of their identity and many want them on Fifth Avenue,” Mr. Spiegelman said.

Fifth Avenue is hardly the only Manhattan shopping strip that's popular with retailers these days. All told, four of the ten priciest streets in the Americas are in Manhattan: Times Square, East 57th Street and Madison Avenue follow Fifth Avenue, in that order.

This is the first time that the Times Square bowtie, between West 42nd Street and West 47th Street, has made the list. It did so with rents averaging $1,350 a square foot. There is no corresponding annual data from the previous year because Cushman only recently started measuring that specific location. However, as of September 2010, rents there averaged $1,000 a square foot.

“Times Square is the center of the world and it has become another place where retailers want to express their identity,” said Mr. Spiegelman. He noted that the area is especially popular with moderately priced retailers that would appeal to a mass audience, especially a younger clientele.

Rents on East 57th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues have also been going up a brisk rate, rising 20% to $1,200 a square foot year-over-year. Of the top four Manhattan shopping strips, Madison Avenue was the laggard. There, rents inched up only 2% to $847 a square foot. The stretch between East 57th Street and East 72nd Street, which is home to many luxury retailers, has been especially hard hit by the recession.

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