UPDATED, Feb. 11 11:48 a.m.: It may be just a two-year deal, but a new lease by Valentino may be a good sign for the city’s struggling retail sector.
The luxury fashion brand will open its first Soho store at 135 Spring Street in a space that’s currently occupied by Diesel. Valentino is expected to take over the nearly 8,800-square-foot duplex space at the end of February, and will open later this spring.
“Valentino is going to do something special there,” said Ariel Schuster, vice chairman of Newmark, who along with senior managing director Ross Berkowitz and associate director Brandon Miller represented the building owner, Invesco Real Estate.
“Soho has turned the corner,” he added. “We are not seeing massive bidding wars but there are multiple brands negotiating for spaces.”
Valentino was represented by CBRE’s Andrew Goldberg, who could not be reached for comment.
Invesco purchased the building, which also includes the Burberry store at 137 Spring Street and several floors of offices, from SL Green Realty in 2015 for $222 million.
But even as it expands in Soho, Valentino has been trying to get out of its Midtown lease. Last June, the brand filed a lawsuit to get out of paying for its nearly 20,000-square-foot space at 693 Fifth Avenue. The building is owned by an LLC controlled by Fimalac — French billionaire Marc de Lacharrière’s Paris-based holding company — which bought it from Thor Equities in 2016 for $525 million.
“In the current social and economic climate, filled with Covid-19-related restrictions, social distancing measures, a lack of consumer confidence and a prevailing fear of patronizing in-person, ‘non-essential’ luxury retail boutiques,” it stated in the complaint, “Valentino’s business at the premises has been substantially hindered and rendered impractical, unfeasible and no longer workable.”
The retailer’s lawsuit was dismissed on Jan. 21, with New York State Supreme Court Judge Andrew Borrok stating that the pandemic doesn’t change Valentino’s obligation to pay its rent.
The store had been open for curbside delivery and appointments when it filed the lawsuit, Borrok noted, and then later chose to move out. “No wrongful act of the landlord is alleged to have caused the necessity of this decision,” his ruling reads.
It is unclear if Valentino will appeal the ruling. Neither its attorneys and nor its press representative immediately responded to requests for comment.
UPDATE: This piece was updated to add two additional brokers who represented Invesco Real Estate in the deal.