Any golfer will tell you: sometimes you just get tired of staring at an empty hole.
At long last, Dick’s Sporting Goods wants to fill Blackstone’s cherished 36,000-square-foot empty, two-floor retail space at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue, multiple sources said.
The prime spot in the 41-story Bryant Park tower at 1095 Sixth Avenue is technically in the Times Square district and thus in the path of at least a few errant tourists; it also boasts 16 feet of ground-floor frontage with wrap-around glass. But ever since Blackstone bought the building in 2007, and slapped on a minty fresh facade, the landlord has searched for the perfect retail tenant and has rebuffed pretenders.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity, and in fact a once-in-a-generation chance, to re-imagine and reposition a long stretch of 42nd Street and create an exciting, retail friendly link between Times Square and the dynamic Bryant Park neighborhood,” said Cushman & Wakefield‘s C. Bradley Mendelson in a statement when he took over the leasing assignment in September 2010.
Another 44,000 square feet of above- and below-grade retail space in the building, fronting 42nd Street and unrelated to the likely Dick’s move, still appears to be available, which the landlord is marketing to restaurant or entertainment tenants. Blackstone has also struggled with shrinking office tenants and falling rents.
Brokers say Dick’s Sporting Goods, which was started in upstate New York by an avid fisherman in 1948, can afford to pay well for the space. “This is not like a t-shirt store,” Prudential Douglas Elliman retail queen Faith Hope Consolo said. “This is the real deal.”
The chain has over 300 stores and it’s been looking for 15 years for a place to make its New York City debut, according to Ms. Consolo, who said the tenant has also looked on the East Side, in downtown and in Chelsea.
Ms. Consolo noted that sport stores, such as Modell’s, have been growing–an unsurprising corollary to the post-millenium fitness fad and even the recession. “There are a lot of staycationers, a lot of people that wouldn’t travel that are home in the summer,” she said, many of whom are (or have been forced out of boredom to become) huge golfing and tennis enthusiasts. In fact, a trio of sports stores are said to have competed for the space, also including Texas-based Golfsmith and Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), which is opening in Soho.
The ball doesn’t seem to be in the hole yet. Mr. Mendelson declined to comment. Dick’s declined to comment; as did Robert K. Futterman’s Ariel Schuster, who previously had the listing. Blackstone and SRS Real Estate’s Patrick Smith, who has helped Dick’s scout for New York space, didn’t return our calls.