Meatpacking District sees influx of retailers

High Line is a major draw for retailers looking for leases in the area

TRD New York /
Jan.January 12, 2011 02:34 PM
From left: Faith Hope Consolo of Prudential Douglas Elliman, the High Line and Stuart Siegel of Grubb & Ellis

Retailers are flocking to the Meatpacking District to take advantage of High Line-inspired foot traffic.

The elevated half-mile Long Park Between Gansevoort Street and, as of this spring, 34th Street attracted 3 million visitors within a year of opening in June 2009. (The Empire State Building has about 3.7 million visitors a year.)

International perfumery Bond No. 9 is the latest retailer to join the pack, signing a 1,000-square-foot lease last week for its fifth New York City location at 863 Washington Street, between 13th and 14th streets.

Richard Skulnik, a broker at Ripco Real Estate who specializes in properties in the Meatpacking District, said mainstream retailers recognize they need to be near the High Line.

“Any retailer who was considering Meatpacking or West Chelsea within the last 12 months is going to have the success of the High Line in their mind,” he said.

Though there are no big national retailers in the area, except for Apple, the Meatpacking District has attracted its fair share of European fashion brands, including Christian Louboutin, Diane Von Furstenberg and Stella McCartney. Restaurants like Pastis, a French bistro, and hotels like the Gansevoort and Soho House have helped to drive traffic.

With prices at close to $400 per square foot on the side streets and $500 a square foot on 14th Street, rents in the area “are improving faster than almost anywhere in the city,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of retail at Prudential Douglas Elliman. She and Joseph Aquino, an Elliman executive vice president, negotiated the lease on behalf of Bond No. 9 in the Washington Street deal.

Stuart Siegel, executive managing director at Grubb & Ellis, who represented the landlord in the Bond No. 9 deal, said that as the market adjusted in the last two years, there was an overall decrease in pricing.

“But the Meatpacking District is coming back stronger and faster than almost anywhere” else in the city, he said, though he noted that there were significant price differentials depending upon the block, with as low as $200 per square foot on some streets to as high as $400 per square foot on other streets.

Siegel explained that he was beginning to see a retail shift in the area, with brands like Levi’s, which opened two months ago, and Sephora, set to open in the spring. “You Would Expect These More On Lower Fifth Avenue or in Soho, which are more highly trafficked parts of the city,” he said.

Siegel said he thinks the demand will only increase, noting that there are several properties in the process of being converted that will soon be put on the market and will attract international retailers, though he declined to provide any details.

Skulnik also said he was seeing strong interest from high-end furniture retailers, and he is negotiating to Secure Space For Them On 10th Avenue. He estimated that rents on 10th Avenue are now close to between $350 and $400 per square foot. “I think [rents] will grow and increase, but not at a crazy clip,” he said. “As more space is being leased in the area, there will be classic supply and demand.”

According to the New York Post, furniture retailer Arhaus rented and is building out 32,000 square feet on the ground, basement and second floors of a mid-block building at 15 Little West 12th Street, which just hit the market. Another 2,000 square feet of retail space is available on the 13th Street side of the property, and Palo Alto-based tech firm Palantir will move in when its 13,500-square-foot space on the top floor and rooftop is completed.

Other retailers new to the Meatpacking District include skin and hair care supplier Kiehl’s at 400 West 14th Street; British clothiers AllSaints Spitalfields at 415 West 13th Street and Ted Baker London at 34 Little West 12th Street; Maison Bellaish, offering Israeli-designed eveningwear, at 36 Little West 12th Street; and Lilla P, a women’s wear retailer at 420 West 14th Street, slated to open in the spring.

Designer label Michael Kors is also close to signing a lease for space in the area, Consolo said.

This latest location for Bond No. 9 — which also has stores two stores on Madison Avenue, one on Bleecker Street and its eponymous flagship at 9 Bond Street — was especially significant to the retailer, she said. Since the perfume introduced a fragrance named for the High Line last spring, “it was very important for us to secure the right ‘home’ for the collection,” Consolo said.

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