Under Armour to take former FAO Schwarz space at GM Building

Baltimore-based retailer plans to lease 53K sf

Under Armour's Kevin Plank (credit: Getty Images) and the GM Building at 767 Fifth Avenue in Midtown
Under Armour's Kevin Plank (credit: Getty Images) and the GM Building at 767 Fifth Avenue in Midtown

UPDATED, July 27, 10:24 a.m.: Apparently, “Protect this House” is more than just a marketing slogan for the active wear retailer Under Armour.

The chief executive officer of the Baltimore-based company announced Tuesday that Under Armour would take over the former FAO Schwarz space at the GM Building, which had been eyed by rival athletics retailer Nike.

The 20-year-old apparel firm is a “growth company,” CEO Kevin Plank said during the second-quarter earnings call, and the coveted location on Fifth Avenue between East 58th and 59th streets is one of the “most recognized and high-trafficked areas of all New York,” the Commercial Observer reported.

Under Armour plans to take 53,000 square feet at the base of the Boston Properties [TRDataCustom] building at 767 Fifth Avenue, but it was not clear if the company had signed a lease or a letter of intent.

Neither Cushman & Wakefield’s David Green and Steven Soutendjik, who represent the landlord at the building, nor Boston Properties immediately responded to a request for comment.

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The coveted space became available when iconic toy company FAO Schwarz left last summer after 30 years, citing high rents that reportedly hit $20 million per year.

Apple, which helped transform the building’s Public Plaza with its impressive cube, had been considering expanding into the space, but reportedly balked at paying market rents.

Nike was also seriously eyeing the location. Nike is also reportedly negotiating a lease for 40,000 to 65,000 square feet at 140 West Street in Tribeca – a space Under Armour was rumored to be ready to snap up if Nike walked away.

This is the second time Nike, which has a flagship at 6 East 57th Street, has missed out on a chance to Open A Fifth Avenue store. In 2013 the retailer had been negotiating to take the former H&M space at 640 Fifth Avenue, which eventually was scooped up by Victoria’s Secret.

Robert Cohen and Peter Whitenack at RKF represented Under Armour along with Jeff Mason at the Baltimore-based Mason Retail Group.[CO]Rich Bockmann