At least 60 new retailers have opened on Madison Avenue’s northern strip since January 2010, including high-end stores like Bottega Veneta with its $30,000 purses, the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District told the Wall Street Journal. An additional 10 new stores are under construction. Fifth Avenue also makes positive strides, as demand increases.
It’s a notable comeback for the avenue, which lost multiple high-profile tenants in the recession, including Christian Dior and Yves St. Laurent, driving the vacancy rate up to 15 percent at the worst of the market. Rents, which had soared to $1,500 a foot during the boom, also collapsed.
“It was the poster child for doom and gloom,” said Jeffrey Roseman, executive vice president at Newmark Knight Frank.
But as luxury retailers return in their droves, some industry experts worry that Madison Avenue’s return is not built on solid ground.
“Madison Avenue rents are going through the roof. Let’s go over the potential to repeat history,” said Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates.
Meanwhile, Fifth Avenue has seen greatest increases in asking rents and demand in recent history. The corridor of Fifth Avenue between 49th and 59th streets saw a 17 percent increase in asking rents to $2,633 per square foot since Spring 2011 and 11 percent since fall 2010, according to the latest figures from the Real Estate Board of New York. [WSJ]