Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma retreat from East 59th St.

"In a span of 60 days, that section of town has lost close to $100 million in sales of plates and forks."
September 25, 2015 08:04AM

Selling tables, chairs, forks and toasters on the Southeast corner of Central Park ain’t what it used to be. Two more venerable retailers are packing up their wares and moving on, over high rents or a failure to innovate, depending on whom you ask.

Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma are leaving their three-story, 35,000-square-foot retail condominium at 127 East 59th Street, between Lexington and Park avenues, a space they’ve occupied for over 15 years.

Crate & Barrel has also fled the neighborhood, shuttering its 62,000-square-foot flagship location at 650 Madison Avenue last month, after 20 years.

“In a span of 60 days, that section of town has lost close to $100 million in sales of plates and forks,” Jeffrey Roseman of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who is marketing Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma’s former retail condo, told the New York Observer. “You could have gotten anything for your table within a span of two blocks and now you can’t.”

The annual asking rent for that space is $6.5 million, Roseman said.

Asking rents for group-floor retail spaces along Fifth Avenue between 49th and 60th Streets averaged $3,350 per square foot in the second quarter, up 4.9 percent year-over-year, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield.

“I just think that the area has gotten too valuable and rents have just moved up so much that it’s a difficult area to just simply be there to sell your product,” Lou Ceruzzi of Ceruzzi Properties, told the newspaper.

But Roseman thinks certain brands have failed to keep up with the times, citing Restoration Hardware as a contrast.

“It has nothing to do with rent,” he said. “None of them are leaving because of rent. They are leaving because they haven’t adapted. They’re not clicking on all cylinders.” [NYO] – Ariel Stulberg