The city’s big retail dealmakers got busy talking shop over the weekend. But instead of doing so under the fluorescent lights of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, they congregated at the boozy parties hosted the day before the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual expo kicks off.
The festivities started Sunday afternoon as Brookfield Property Partners hosted a soirée at Manhattan West overlooking the active construction site above the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s rail yards.
Michael Goldban, senior VP of retail leasing for Brookfield, said the company’ hoped to find a mix of retail tenants that would give the megaproject a distinct identity in the neighborhood.
“We’re very close to announcing two major anchor tenants,” he said, adding that Brookfield is courting retailers who want to experiment with store design in order to make their shops stand out in the age of e-commerce.
Earlier this year, Whole Foods was reportedly in talks to lease 50,000 square feet at the company’s 1.7 million-square-foot 5 Manhattan West building, though Goldban declined to offer up any names.
Jeans trumped slacks at the event, and the several big screen TVs broadcasting the Giants vs. Steelers matchup added to the casual vibe.
JLL’s Bob Gibson and Amy Zhen made the rounds, as did JTRE founder Jack Terzi, who said he’s close to closing on his big purchase of 23 Wall Street, which is reportedly in contract for well north of $100 million.
RKF’s Ariel Schuster, who spent part of his weekend with his family taking in the Nutcracker at the packed retail pavilion at Brookfield Place, said the industry’s mood going into this week’s show is “cautiously bullish.”
“Retailers are careful but active,” he said.
From Manhattan West it was a short taxi ride down Ninth Avenue to the Dream Hotel, where the Shopping Centers Group hosted its annual ICSC party.
Jeff Sutton was in attendance – presumably enjoying “congrats” for his big deal with Nike at 650 Fifth Avenue – as were Joseph Farkas and Todd Bassen of Metropolitan Realty Associates and ISCS New York planning committee chair Jason Richter.
SCG partner Chase Welles said the retail trend to watch out for was the fragmentation of different ethnic cuisines – pointing to the Burmese Noodle Bar that opened earlier this year at Industry City (SCG is marketing the retail space there).
“The same way that Thai food broke down into northern, southern and central Thai, you’re going to see that happen with a handful of different cuisines,” he said.
The Real Deal will be following all the ICSC action at the Javits and party spots. Check in frequently for updates.