Dylan’s Candy inks lease amid changes on Union Square West

Five other prominent spaces in play within three-block stretch

From left: 31 Union Square West, 33 Union Square West and 35 Union Square West, Steve Asch (top) and Cara Rosenbloom
From left: 31 Union Square West, 33 Union Square West and 35 Union Square West, Steve Asch (top) and Cara Rosenbloom

The trendy sweets purveyor Dylan’s Candy Bar signed a long-term lease on Union Square West, a stretch that has five other spaces quietly on the market that will transform the character of the blocks.

The candy store took 3,300 square feet on the ground floor at 33 Union Square West, between 16th and 17th streets, for 10 years, in a deal that had an asking rent of $1.8 million, or about $545 per square foot, insiders said.

An RKF leasing team of Peter Whitenack and Robert Cohen represented the tenant, while the landlord was represented by Cara Rosenbloom and Steve Asch of City Connections Realty. The confectioner’s lease was first reported by the Daily News.

The west side of Union Square is primed for a major overhaul, with three long-term food tenants including Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe and athletic apparel store Lululemon likely to vacate. Lululemon has only been on the stretch for a short time.

Rosenbloom said the candy store lease taking a space formerly occupied by shoe retailer Puma, changes the mood of the west side of Union Square.

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“To use a word my mother uses, it’s an ‘up trip.’ It has a happy vibe, something whimsical, and it sets a tone,” Rosenbloom said.

But with rising rents, brokers expect food sellers to migrate off the park.

“At this price point, it’s hard for [restaurants] to make sense at this location. The most likely candidates are apparel and accessories who can afford to pay rents this high,” Michael Azarian, a retail broker with Massey Knakal Realty Services, said. Azarian is marketing the long-time Heartland Brewery space at 35 Union Square West. The landlord is seeking $1.9 million per year for the space, which includes 4,312 square feet on the ground and 4,200 square feet in the basement. Azarian pegged the ground floor asking rent at $400 per square foot.

Beth Rosen and Marc Finkel at RKF are representing Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe space at 21 East 16th Street, available in March 2015. Sources said the space has an asking rent of $660,000 for the ground floor, or about $165 per foot. In addition, Rosen and Finkel are representing the space next door occupied by Blue Water Grill, at 31 Union Square West, which is asking $3 million per year for 4,700 square feet on the ground floor and 6,000 square feet on the lower level and a mezzanine. The space is available in October 2015.

RKF’s Karen Bellantoni is representing a space at 15 Union Square West that is now occupied by Lululemon, which has an asking price of $1.7 million per year. An RFK spokesperson declined to disclose or comment on asking rents. In addition. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Jared Lack is representing 25 Union Square West, where the asking rent is $450 per square foot for 2,500 square feet of ground floor with 1,500 on the lower level.