As tourists slowly return to New York City, concerns surrounding the future of Times Square appear to be melting away.
Paramount Group and an unnamed partner have reached a deal to acquire the retail space at 1600 Broadway from Sherwood Equities for more than $190 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The three-story, glass-enclosed space is home to M&M’s World, a 25,000-square-foot candy and gift shop, which will remain in the building on a lease that expires in 2036.
A Cushman and Wakefield team led by Doug Harmon and Adam Spies brokered the deal, according to the Journal. Sherwood had originally aimed to sell the retail condo in 2019, asking $200 million and tapping a CBRE team including Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan to market it, but those efforts were scuttled by the pandemic.
The sale comes after a harrowing period for Times Square retailers during the pandemic as travel slowed, office buildings emptied and Broadway went dark. But recent indicators show conditions are starting to improve in the tourism center.
An average of 233,000 people per day visited Times Square in November, according to data from the Times Square Alliance. While that is still 31 percent off the pace seen in 2019, it is more than double the 107,000 per day recorded in November 2020.
Alliance president Tom Harris told the Journal that 77 percent of stores in the area are now open, up from 50 percent in May, though data shared with TRD indicate that retail rents are still well below pre-pandemic levels.
REBNY’s Keith DeCoster told the Journal that vacancies have provided several retailers that previously wouldn’t have been able to afford a Times Square location with the opportunity to sign leases this year.
“I would describe it as heading in the right direction,” DeCoster told the Journal. “Not back to pre-pandemic levels, but headed in that direction.”
[WSJ] — Sasha Jones