Five questions for Robert Futterman

Futterman is the founder, chairman and CEO of Robert K. Futterman & Associates. He is a 25-year retail leasing veteran, having personally completed more than $3 billion in transactions. He has been a big player in revitalizing major retail areas including Union Square South, Times Square, 34th Street and Soho.

In what part of the city are you seeing the most retail store closings and why do you think that is?

Upper Madison [Avenue]. Luxury brands and international retailers at one time felt a Madison Avenue showcase was critical, however, the desire to be profitable in tough economic times has proven more important. For many, occupancy costs became an obstacle to being profitable.

When do you expect retail rents to start climbing?

Hopefully in the spring.

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How long do we have until the pop-up shop market pops?

When landlords start agreeing to long-term leases and realize there aren’t going to be any more significant changes in the market to affect rent.

Costco is going to be the first retailer in the East River Plaza in Harlem. How long do you think it will take to lease the remaining 485,000 square feet?

If they haven’t leased the space yet, then probably six months after Costco opens. Costco should be a magnet for other big-box retailers and create an environment where they will flourish.

What kind of effect will the shopping site have on the immediate area?

None. It’s isolated as an island unto itself.

Compiled by Lauren Elkies