The Real Deal New York

Fashion brands ditch Meatpacking District for Columbus Avenue

January 23, 2012 09:30AM

While high rents are cooling the retail leasing environment in the trendy Meatpacking District, years of construction have pushed rents down on Columbus Avenue in the Upper West Side and suddenly fashion outlets are flocking to the uptown thoroughfare.

Citing Massey Knakal figures, Crain’s reported that there are at least two dozen availabilities along 14th street west of Fifth Avenue. Though the storefronts aren’t vacant, they are facing expiring leases with tenants who won’t renew at the going rate of more than $350 per square foot (at 837 Washington Street, asking rents will be set at $600 per square-foot). For instance, designer Stella McCartney fled the district for Soho in a highly publicized move. However, previous reports have said that the vacancies will be filled quickly by less exclusive national retailers.

Conversely, fashion retailers, including Helmut Lang, Oska and Polarn O. Pyret, have begun descending upon Columbus Avenue. The avenue had “lost its luster,” according to Ben Fox, executive vice president of retail leasing at Massey Knakal, because years of sewage construction tore it up and pushed rents down. But those lower rents, of about $250 to $300 per square foot, have drawn retailers and evaporated vacancies. [Crain’s]