In a flashback to its khaki-and-jeans heyday when ubiquitous TV spots implored the nation to “Fall into the Gap,” that paragon of 1990s retail is once again taking a hard look at a potential flagship location in the Times Square bow tie.
Gap, Inc. has for some time been in talks to take either a portion or all of the 110,000 square feet at 1514 Broadway that Toys ‘R’ Us is vacating early next year, sources told The Real Deal.
The retailer’s plan would be to split the square footage at the corner of West 44th Street and Broadway between a Gap and an Old Navy store, sources said.
Cushman & Wakefield’s Brad Mendelson, who represents landlord Bow Tie Partners, and Ariel Schuster of RKF, who represents Gap, both declined to comment.
Asking rent on the 21,000-square-foot ground floor is $2,500 per square foot, while the asks for the lower level and second level are $150 and $350 per square foot, respectively. Toys R Us is reportedly paying half those amounts.
Gap was earlier eyeing the space about 15 years ago, right before the New Jersey-headquartered Toys ‘R’ Us signed a lease in 2000 to build a toy store big enough to fit a 60-foot ferris wheel inside. But after a decade spent as the darling of 1990’s mall-era retail, Gap’s fortunes declined at the turn of the century as it faced stiff competition from fast-fashion competitors such as H&M, Zara and Forever 21.
Retail experts also say that the parent company of brands such as Banana Republic, Athleta and Intermix also overreached as it expanded its platform to include spin-offs such online shop Piperlime (now shuttered) and Forth & Towne, a bricks-and-mortar store targeted toward older women.
The company spent much of the aughts closing smaller stores as it focused on maintaining larger ones.
Earlier this year CEO Art Peck took the reins at Gap, Inc. with the goal of refocusing on building the company’s namesake brand. In May, the company reported a sales drop of 10 percent, its worst performance since late 2011.