Still searching for Takashimaya retailer, Thor launches another upgrade

In its ongoing effort to land a retail tenant for the former Takashimaya building on Fifth Avenue, Thor Equities is spending another $5 million to spruce up the six-floor space, Crain’s reported. The space has been on the market for 19 months, CoStar Group data shows.

The upgrade intends to convert 2,000 square feet of lobby space into retail space and brings the total six-floor retail square footage to 44,500. When complete in September, a three-story glass facade will also be added to the building. Once a retailer is signed on, Thor will spend millions more to build out the space.

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Thor, headed by Joseph Sitt, acquired the building, at 693 Fifth Avenue between 54th and 55th streets, for $142 million two years ago, after Takashimaya went bankrupt. The developer spent millions upgrading the property and took on a temporary tenant in clothing retailer Forever 21.

“Now that test tenant Forever 21 has left, we’re really positioning this building to showcase it in a very exciting manner,” said Melissa Gliatta, an executive vice president at Thor.

As The Real Deal previously reported, Sitt is aggressively marketing the space — even putting a “for lease” sign on the window, a rarity for the ultra high-end retail stretch.  Two obstacles to landing a tenant are the difficult layout and the asking rent, which was $14.8 million as of December. He told The Real Deal last year that there was “no question” he’d get at least $2,500 per foot for the space. [Crain’s]