Levi’s eyes Meatpacking site for new store

TRD New York /
Dec.December 10, 2009 05:27 PM

San Francisco-based jeans retailer Levi Strauss & Co. is in talks to lease a portion of the newly-constructed 414 West 14th Street retail and office building in the Meatpacking District near the High Line, several retail sources said.

Levi’s would take less than half the 6,400 square feet of the ground-floor retail space, with about 25 feet of street frontage for a high-end store, the sources said.

A lease at the building would be welcome news for the six-story office and retail building built by developer Sitt Asset Management and private equity firm the Carlyle Group. The site has been vacant since it was completed in February.

The opening of the High Line in June has brought more potential shoppers to the neighborhood, but pedestrian traffic remains light during the day, some brokers said.

Levi’s has four locations in Manhattan, including in Soho at 536 Broadway near Spring Street and near Union Square at 25 West 14th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues.

A spokesperson for Levi’s said in an e-mail that the company was looking for space globally, but would not identify individual sites.

“Our retail expansion this year [has] been focused on being opportunistic during the economic downturn,” the spokesperson said. “We have not set any specific numbers for additional stores, but are open to opportunities to secure prime space in outstanding locations.”

Laura Pomerantz, a principal at commercial brokerage PBS Real Estate, which is the broker for both Levi’s and the building at 414 West 14th Street, declined to comment.

Layout alternatives on the PBS Real Estate Web site show possible configurations of the first floor space, including an option for a 2,616-square-foot section on the east side of the floor with 25 feet of frontage.

The rent being discussed was not available, but brokers expected it to be significantly below the asking rent of $400 per square foot quoted on PropertyShark.com.

Retail broker Richard Skulnik, of Ripco Real Estate, who is actively marketing a retail location in a development parcel in the neighborhood, said brokers had been whispering about a major denim retailer looking in the area for some time.

“Whether it is [Levi’s] or someone else of their ilk it would be great for the Meatpacking District,” he said.

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