Asking rents in the bustling center of Times Square more than doubled over the last year, pulling even for the first time with the city’s most expensive district on Upper Fifth Avenue, commercial firm Cushman & Wakefield reported Tuesday. Landlords are asking an average of $2,283 per square foot in the Bowtie — where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue — a 117 percent increase from last year, when it was $1,052 per square foot.
“Times Square rents have surged,” Joanne Podell, company executive vice president, said. “Retailers recognize that along with tremendous density (and) good co-tenants, the extended store hours have a significant positive effect on sales.”
At the same time, over the past year, the asking rent on Upper Fifth Avenue, between 49th and 57th street, declined by 4.4 percent, from $2,388 per foot to $2,283 per foot, the report said.
The most expensive listing in Times Square is Vornado Realty Trust space at the Marriott Marquis Times Square hotel, where insiders say Vornado is asking $2,350 per square foot on the ground floor. Vornado inked a 20-year deal with property owner Host Hotels & Resorts and is redeveloping the retail, which it will then lease out to a new tenant.
The final deals often are far lower than the asking rent, brokers said.
One of the main drivers of the rise in Times Square asking rents, according to insiders, is the 30,000-square-foot Express deal at 1552 Broadway, owned by Jeff Sutton and SL Green Realty. Insiders are divided on the ground-floor rent, with some pegging it as $1,500 per foot, while other believe it is higher, at $2,000 per foot.
But the high demand and lack of big-box locations in the center of Times Square have pumped up what landlords are asking.
“There is a lack of vacancy, and retailers are being cautious in this market, and are competing for Class A locations rather than going to tertiary markets,” Thomas Citron, director in retail services at Cushman, said. “And they are paying for it.”