Despite the presence of retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Staples and Bed Bath and Beyond, the Sixth Avenue stretch south of 23rd Street has a storefront vacancy issue, DNAinfo reported. In fact, these storefront spaces have sat vacant for years, and this trend is attributed to two factors: high rents and a reluctance to occupy property inside of landmarked buildings.
DNAinfo mentioned recent vacancies, such as the 42,000-square-foot northern half of the Mattel Building’s first floor at 675 Sixth Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets, which formerly housed a Barnes & Noble. This space has been vacant for over a year. Just a couple of blocks down, at 641 Sixth Avenue, Bally Total Fitness, Papyrus and RadioShack left a space in April that began asking $200 per square foot. In addition, a FedEx closed across the street from this property last month.
Gary Alterman, a vice president at RKF, said there is a silver lining to the vacancies — without tenants, landlords can refurbish their interior spaces. He also said that most of the businesses looking to occupy storefronts in the neighborhood are national chain retailers.
Through retail might be slumping in the area, the office scene is thriving due to the growth of Silicon Alley. For example, the Stern building, at 28-40 West 23rd Street, has embarked on a campaign to cater to the likes of tech companies. [DNAinfo]