East River Plaza Best Buy could be replaced by Manhattan first-timer

April 18, 2012 02:30PM

The 50,000-square-foot space in East River Plaza that Best Buy is vacating would be perfect for first time entrants into Manhattan’s retail sector, according to brokers who spoke with Real Estate Weekly. Best Buy announced this week the Harlem store would be one of 50 nationwide closings, and the only one in New York City.

The big-box electronics purveyor has five other large Manhattan stores and four in the boroughs. It also operates three smaller, Best Buy Mobile outposts in New York City.

With its location away from main thoroughfares, its 1,248-car garage and its big-box neighbors, the East River Plaza “mirrors a suburban center,” according to Robin Abrams, executive vice president of commercial brokerage Lansco. As a result, the Best Buy vacancy might be unattractive to established Manhattan retailers, but could be appealing to traditional suburban chains. “It would be a little less scary and less outside their prototypical norm,” Abrams said.

Blumenfeld Development Group, which co-owns the center with Forest City Ratner, said potential replacement retailers are already vying for the space.

Though Best Buy has made no announcements regarding its remaining Manhattan stores, brokers say the company’s prime locations would by highly coveted and would quickly draw a new tenant should Best Buy vacate them, too. But that seems unlikely, as history shows failed chains, like Virgin Records, have waited until the very end to shut their profitable Manhattan outposts. [REW]