NFL nears goal line in Times Square lease: sources

National Football League close to deal for 25K sf at Witkoff’s 20 Times Square
By Adam Pincus | May 24, 2016 11:10AM

The National Football League is close to finalizing a deal to take about 25,000 square feet of retail space at the Witkoff Group-led development at 20 Times Square, several sources told The Real Deal.

The league is looking to lease a large chunk of the 76,000 square feet of retail space within the 270,000-square foot project, sources with knowledge of negotiations told TRD. The development site, which broke ground in October with a ceremony including Mayor Bill de Blasio, has an address of 701 Seventh Avenue, at 47th Street.

The lease is good news for Times Square, where retailers have been wary of asking rents that rose by 140 percent from under $1,000 per foot in 2009 to more than $2,400 in 2014, according to figures from the Real Estate Board of New York.

In addition to high rents, some mid-tier national retailers are being battered by softer sales. One example is the Sports Authority, which announced this month that it would close all its remaining stores in the U.S. The retailer, which has locations in Midtown, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, carries NFL products.

The high-profile Times Square project is being developed by the Witkoff Group, Howard Lorber’s Vector Group, Ian Schrager, Winthrop Realty Trust, and Maefield Development. The 39-story project, set to be completed in 2017, includes a Marriott Edition hotel with 452 rooms and an 18,000 square foot LED sign.

Steve Witkoff, CEO of the Witkoff Group, declined to comment, saying only that there is no signed lease. A spokesperson for the NFL declined to comment.

A CBRE team of Andrew Goldberg and Matt Chmielecki is representing the landlord. They did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The league has opened pop-up stores for the Super Bowl and there are NFL shops within other chains, but does not have any permanent locations.

In 2012, the NFL opened its first New York City pop-up shop, at 1095 Sixth Avenue, and in early 2014, the league opened a temporary 36,000-square-foot selling space within Macy’s in Herald Square, tied to the Super Bowl held at the Meadowlands that year.

The NFL raked in an estimated $12 billion last year, up about 14 percent from 2014.