Despite study, brokers remain confident in value of Fifth Avenue retail

From left: Murray Hill Properties' Norman Sturner, 530 Fifth Avenue
From left: Murray Hill Properties' Norman Sturner, 530 Fifth Avenue

Causeway Bay be damned! The glitzy Hong Kong shopping destination may have unseated Fifth Avenue as the world’s most expensive retail street, but New York City brokers are still bullish on Fifth, the Commercial Observer reported.

A recent Cushman & Wakefield report found that Causeway Bay was the most valuable shopping strip in the world, knocking Fifth Avenue from the position for the first time in 11 years. But Fifth Avenue’s No. 2 position may have more to do with a whopping 35 percent increase in Hong Kong retail rent values than New York losing value, brokers told the Observer.

“There’s no doubt that Causeway Bay in particular, and Hong Kong in general, are hot, high-end retail markets,” Jack Terzi, principal of brokerage JTRE, told the Observer. “But I doubt that market has eclipsed Fifth Avenue as the world leader.”

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Terzi hypothesized that the Cushman report relied on leases along all of Fifth Avenue, rather than isolating the prime retail locations between 52nd and 58th streets, and may have relied on older leases that are now below market value.

Norman Sturner, president and founder of Murray Hill Properties, which owns 530 Fifth Avenue, said that in the future, prices may increase because of limited supply and demand from middle-market retailers between 42nd and 52nd streets.

Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, which owns several Fifth Avenue properties, said he knew of three retailers that had offered more than $3,000 per square foot to lease a space at 505 Fifth Avenue currently occupied by discount clothier H&M. [NYO]Leigh Kamping-Carder