The Daily Dirt: Amazon pushes further into brick-and-mortar space

TRD New York /
Oct.October 02, 2019 03:16 PM
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Amazon, often blamed for killing retail, is doubling down on brick-and-mortar. 

The e-commerce giant is moving forward with plans to open grocery stores across the country, the first of which will open in Los Angeles. The company is also eyeing the New York metro-area, as well as Chicago and Philadelphia, for possible store locations, the Wall Street Journal reports.  

These stores will be separate from Whole Foods, which Amazon purchased in 2017 for $13.7 billion. Unlike its high-end counterpart, these new stores will sell junk food and artificially flavored soda. 

Amazon had first announced its grocery store aspirations back in March. A few days later, the company indicated that it would close down several dozen retail pop-up shops it had started opening in 2014. Still, the company has grown its physical footprint with its bookstores — there are now 18 — which the New Yorker once described as “not built for people who actually read.”  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯   

Elsewhere in the world of retail, Joe Sitt’s Thor Equities sold a big-box retail property in Bensonhurst that is leased to BJ’s Wholesale Club. Midtown-based Algin Management bought  the property — located at 1752 Shore Parkway — for $75 million, Rich Bockmann reports. The building was one of the more stable retail properties owned by Thor, which has been dogged by declining sales and the rise of e-commerce. 

Forever 21, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday, is shuttering three New York stores. Another 175 are slated for closure

Russian billionaire Vladislav Doronin just scored $750 million to overhaul the Crown Building. 

Doronin’s OKO Group and partner Aman Group plan to convert the upper portion of the former office building into 20 luxury apartments and an 83-room Aman hotel. Bank OZK provided a senior loan of $300 million and the investment firm Cain International provided $450 million worth of mezzanine debt. The project is expected to cost $1.25 billion, according to the developers.

The Art Deco tower, built in 1921, was designed by Warren & Wetmore, the firm behind Grand Central Terminal. The building’s current owners tapped Denniston Architects to design the condo/hotel conversion, which is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2020. Last year, an unknown buyer went into contract for the tower’s penthouse, agreeing to pay $180 million. 

What we’re thinking about next: What will happen to the old Lord & Taylor building now that WeWork is cutting back on new leases and trying to cut costs? Send a note to [email protected]

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded on Tuesday was for a condo unit at 111 Murray Street in Tribeca, at $14.9 million.
Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for Thor’s big-box retail property (see above), at $75 million. It’s worth noting that another pretty big deal went into contract Tuesday: Jacob Chetrit is buying 220 East 42nd Street from SL Green Realty for $815 million.

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 16,999-square-foot manufacturing and commercial building at 43-34 37th Street in Long Island City. New York Custom Interior Millwork filed the permit application. 

The priciest residential listing to hit the market on Tuesday was for a townhouse at 196 West Houston Street in the West Village, at $18 million. Brown Harris Stevens’ Paula Del Nunzio has the listing. — Research by Mary Diduch

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