Starwood Hotels, owner of the gloriously stuffy Astor-built St. Regis New York, has hired CB Richard Ellis investment broker Darcy Stacom to market its cluster of tony storefronts along Fifth Avenue at 55th Street, according to a number of industry sources.
Rumor has it that a group of investors approached Starwood out of the blue with an incredibly generous offer for the retail condominium—which houses pre-recession luxury artifacts like a De Beers outlet, and Emilio Pucci and Bottega Veneta boutiques—and that Starwood proceeded to hire Ms. Stacom to suss out the market. Ms. Stacom declined to comment or to confirm that sequence of events. Starwood did not respond by press time.
That the Fifth Avenue mall should retain its appeal in this slasher of a retail market is not exactly surprising. Sure, asking rents have fallen—but only from K2-levels of inaccessability to, say, Mount Everest levels. Fifth Avenue, between 49th and 59th streets, remains the most desirable shopping corridor in the city, with average asking rents at $1,631 a square feet, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s May retail report for Manhattan. By point of comparison: The second most expensive corridor is Broadway/Seventh Avenue, between 42nd and 47th streets (Times Square), with an average asking rent of $1,381 a square foot.