Jeff Bezos: Alexa, find me a space in Soho to open another Amazon bookstore in New York City.
Alexa: Finding 72 Spring Street.
Sources tell The Real Deal that the e-commerce colossus will be taking the 7,354-square-foot space between Crosby and Lafayette Streets, currently home to a pop-up store for lingerie store Aerie. The retail spot at 72 Spring includes 5,200 square feet on the ground floor and 2,154 square feet in the basement. It wasn’t immediately clear whether a lease has been finalized yet.
RKF has been marketing the space, according to sources. The brokerage declined to comment. The building’s owner, Melvin Heller, and Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.
Earlier this year, Seattle-based Amazon opened its first physical bookstore in New York at Related Companies’ Time Warner Center. It also has plans to open a bookstore in Herald Square this summer, and considered opening a store in Related and Oxford Properties Group’s Hudson Yards amid a broader push into brick-and-mortar retail.
In June, Amazon agreed to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, leading to some speculation that it plans to use the grocery store chain’s New York City stores and warehouses to distribute its goods.
Amazon’s foray into brick-and-mortar retail comes at a desperate time for the market. According to Cushman & Wakefield’s latest retail market report, six of Manhattan’s 12 most important retail sub-markets had an availability rate of 20 percent or more in the first quarter.
Asking rents fell by 10 percent or more in Soho, Times Square and Herald Square last year. Several major store operators like Macy’s and Ralph Lauren announced shop closings amid growing competition from online retailers over the past year. “I think retail is fucked, plain and simple,” developer Billy Macklowe said at a conference in April.