New restaurant signals changes for Midtown section of Fifth Avenue

Fred D. French Building at 551 Fifth Avenue
Fred D. French Building at 551 Fifth Avenue

The first new (non fast food) restaurant in decades is set to open on the shopping corridor north of 42nd Street, a sign that the retail strip along Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 49th streets is coming back into its own, the New York Post reported.

Tommy Bahama Manhattan Island will feature 150 seats spread over 6,700 square feet on the second floor of the Fred D. French Building at 551 Fifth Avenue. The sidewalk-level Marlin Bar will contain more than 50 additional seats and the restaurant’s retail store has already opened, making the total spaced leased by Tommy Bahama close to 12,600-square-feet for 12-years.

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But despite the arrival of Tommy Bahama and the appearance of retail brands like H&M, Zara, Ted Baker and  Urban Outfitters, it is ultimately up to landlords Joseph Sitt, Joseph Moinian and Stanley Chera, who control important blocks and corners, to decide the fate of the  long-depressed area, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s Brad Mendelson.

Currently, Sitt plans to demolish 520 Fifth Avenue to build a new 77,000-square-foot, seven-story glass-wrapped space — possibly and office tower. Moinian is planning to convert the existing storefronts of 535-545 Fifth Avenue into a 100,000-square-foot glass-wrapped retail space. And across the street, Chera and Partners are asking $1,500 a square foot for 50,000 square feet of retail space, according to the Post. [NYP]Christopher Cameron