The Real Deal New York

Soho retailer Pearl River Mart shuttering Broadway store

Department store facing rent hike to $500K a month
April 07, 2015 03:35PM

Popular Soho retailer Pearl River Mart will close by the end of the year, the department store announced. 

The 44-year-old business will shutter its location at 477 Broadway, its home since 2003, when its lease expires at the end of December, Crain’s reported. Pearl River Mart currently pays more than $100,000 a month in rent – a figure that would increase fivefold if the company opted to renew its lease, president Ching Yeh Chen said.

“When we moved here 12 years ago, there was nobody around,” Chen told Crain’s. But with the arrival of big retail chains like Topshop, Muji and CB2 to the area, the store’s location “is one of the hottest spots in New York,” Chen added.

Pearl River occupies 30,000 square feet across the ground, second and basement levels of 477 Broadway, between Grand Street and Broome Street. The store started in Chinatown, on Elizabeth Street, in 1971 and has moved twice before – first to the corner of Canal and Broadway and then to its current Soho space.

The retail space’s owner, Nathan Baden, told Crain’s that he is still negotiating with the store and that it may “end up staying on another floor.” Chen said she is scouting smaller locations further south on Canal Street.

Crain’s noted that rents on the northern end of Broadway in Soho hover around $830 per square foot – up 9 percent from the fall of 2013, according to the Real Estate Board of New York. Businesses have relocated to adjacent areas like West Broadway or south of Broome Street as a result, which has caused rents to rise there as well.

The cost of doing business in the area has led some retailers to look at Williamsburg or the Bowery as an alternative, according to Lansco Corp. vice president Robin Abrams.

“Those tenants are not only looking for a less expensive location, but also an area that is more interesting,” Abrams told Crain’s.

Chen said she hopes to continue operating Pearl River’s online store after the Broadway location closes. [Crain’s] — Rey Mashayekhi