Ken Himmel is spearheading the hotel-and-retail ground game for the Related Companies at its gargantuan Hudson Yards project on the Far West Side.
That’s no easy task in today’s market, where every other day there’s another headline about the struggles facing bricks-and-mortar retail in today’s buy-it-on-Amazon world. In 2017, the number of retailers who declared bankruptcy hit a six-year high and malls have taken an especially hard hit.
Still, Related is well on its way to filling up 1.2 million square feet of retail space. The project’s main retail hub — dubbed the Shops & Restaurants at Hudson Yards and anchored by luxe department store Neiman Marcus — is already 70 percent leased, according to Related. But with billions of dollars in financing on the line, the stakes for success are high.
The Real Deal spoke to Himmel, the CEO of Related Urban and a reported mix-used guru, about his strategy for locking in tenants, the history of big box retail and navigating the new market reality.
Video produced by Jhila Farzaneh. Interview conducted by Eddie Small