Last week, we told you about 50 new retail locations (or expansions) opening up all over the city, as was detailed in a brochure from Prudential Douglas Elliman. We discovered that companies like Burberry, Rock & Republic, West Elm, and Vera Wang are fearlessly trudging ahead with new outposts despite current economic conditions.
Following this somewhat encouraging news, in the last week we’ve heard about small boutiques struggling to stay alive, and Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue reporting $44 million and $42.8 million losses respectively in the third quarter. But this didn’t seem to faze Elliman chairman Faith Hope Consolo and executive vice president Joseph Aquino of the firm’s Retail Leasing and Sales division, as they are now marketing five new retail spaces to the few companies that currently have the means to expand.
Located at 177 Lafayette Street (at the corner of Grand Street), the five spaces range from 900 square feet to 1,250 square feet. According to the real estate firm, the retail spaces are “definitely priced to lease,” which presumably means the prices have been adjusted to the currently stagnant market.
With retail vacancy rates on the rise—a release the Daily Transom recently received from Cushman & Wakefield, a commercial real estate services firm, indicated that asking rents for retail spaces have remained flat—we wonder just who has the means to open stores right now. After all, the 50 or so companies detailed in the brochure last week probably signed leases in the summer—long before the looming economic mess became an every-day reality.
But, hey, you never know. There’s never a shortage of socialites starting clothing lines in this town. Maybe they’ll fill the vacant spaces.