Top retail leases for 2018 by annual rent

Fast-food giant McDonald's tops the list with Times Square deal

From left: 1530 Broadway, 609 Fifth Avenue, 6 East 57th Street, and 650 Madison Avenue (Credit: CityRealty, Google Maps, and Vornado)
From left: 1530 Broadway, 609 Fifth Avenue, 6 East 57th Street, and 650 Madison Avenue (Credit: CityRealty, Google Maps, and Vornado)

Retail is no longer in a free fall, but New York City’s market remained subdued in 2018, compared with the boom years of 2015 and 2016. The top 10 most valuable leases for the year tell the tale.

McDonald’s, the global fast food giant, signed the most expensive retail lease in the city, inking a deal for about $11.5 million for its starting annual rent, research by The Real Deal found. That’s a shift from recent years, when the top spots went to trendy brands, luxury designers or high-end jewelry stores.

For example in 2017, the most expensive deal was with Genesis, the high-end brand that car maker Hyundai will bring to the Meatpacking District, which paid about $11 million per year.

And the year before that, the top deal was Nike’s $35 million lease at 650 Fifth Avenue, while in 2015, the top lease was watchmaker Swatch Group’s $35 million lease at the St. Regis on Fifth Avenue.

Put another way, the top 10 retail leases for 2018 totaled $62 million, compared with $71 million in 2017 and an eye-popping $150 million in 2015.

TRD communicated with more than 20 real estate professionals to determine the top 10 deals and the estimated annual rent. The rents are approximate and no figures were confirmed by sources on the record. Renewal deals were not included.

And there were other indications of a muted 2018, including the relatively large number of relocations within the top 10, as opposed to new entries to the market or expanding brands.

“We are not seeing the $20 million to $30 million rents being paid for showcase stores. The reality is that it’s difficult to carry a rent of that magnitude [now],” Robin Abrams, a broker with Compass, said.

She said the relocations underscored that firms with experience in New York were the ones prepared to sign large leases. And she took that as a positive sign of stability for the city.

“Tenants that have an existing presence in the market and are relocating — in many cases to larger more pricey real estate — and continue to operate in a challenging real estate market — that is not bad news,” Abrams said.

And despite the lower figures, brokers are seeing strong activity at the close of the year, said Karen Bellantoni, a broker at RKF. She expected to see many deals close in the first quarter of 2019.

“We are doing a ton of transactions, although maybe not as big as a few years ago,” Bellantoni said. She was optimistic, in part because she’s seen long lines to get into experiential stores. And that online retailers continue to open brick and mortar stores.

“It’s now very clear that the web business can’t stand on its own. They need stores to support it,” she said.

1) Tenant: McDonald’s
Rent: $11.5 million
Address: 1530 Broadway, Times Square
Landlord: Charles Moss’ Bow Tie Properties

McDonald’s signed the most valuable retail lease in the city, paying approximately $11.5 million per year at its new location in Times Square, at 1530 Broadway. The tenant is paying about $8.9 million per year for the retail space and the balance of the rent payment is for a large sign.
The quick service restaurant will take 4,000 square feet on the ground floor and 3,000 on the second floor.

Colliers International’s Brad Mendelson and David Green, Nicole Mendelson and Tommy Botsaris represented the landlord Charlie Moss and his Bow Tie Properties, while Cushman & Wakefield’s Andrew Kahn and Christian Stanton represented the restaurant.

McDonald’s will vacate its store at 1560 Broadway where it was paying under $5 million, in a space controlled by SL Green Realty and Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties.

2) Tenant: Puma
Rent: $8.9 million
Address: 609 Fifth Avenue, Midtown
Landlord: SL Green Realty, Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties

German shoe and athletic apparel company Puma signed the second most valuable lease of the year at 609 Fifth Avenue, the former home of American Girl. Puma is taking approximately 24,000 square feet in the building, and paying $8.9 million as a starting rent in the 15-year deal. The retailers will occupy a portion of the basement, the first floor and the entire second floor.

JLL’s Robert Gibson and Greg Covey represented the tenant, while Cushman & Wakefield’s Steven Soutendijk represented the owners.

3) Tenant: Tiffany & Company
Rent: $8 million
Address: 6 East 57th Street, Plaza District
Sublandlord: SL Green Realty, Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties

Tiffany & Company took a short-term, three-year sublease at 6 East 57th Street, the former home to athletic retailer Nike. The 181-year-old jeweler will pay approximately $8 million per year, insiders said. The jeweler will occupy the 73,350-square-foot space while its flagship location next door at 727 Fifth Avenue undergoes a renovation reported to cost an estimated $250 million.

Nike vacated the 57th Street location earlier this year to relocate to a 69,000-square-foot, seven-story retail space at 650 Fifth Avenue controlled by SL Green and Jeff Sutton. Nike signed a lease in 2016 for the space with a starting annual rent of $35 million, making it the most expensive deal signed that year.

The Trump Organization controls 6 East 57th Street through a long-term lease, but SL Green and Sutton agreed as part of Nike’s complex Fifth Avenue transaction, to pay the remaining term of the 57th Street lease, which extends through to mid-2022, at a rate of about $13 million per year, insiders said. The Tiffany’s deal will now provide the partnership with sublease payments through the end of the lease term.

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CBRE’s Andrew Goldberg and Annette Healey represented Tiffany’s, while RKF’s Ross Berkowitz, Tyler King, Ariel Schuster and Jason Wecker represented SL Green and Sutton.

4) Tenant: Celine
Rent: $8 million
Address: 650 Madison Avenue, Plaza District
Landlord: Vornado Realty Trust, Crown Acqusitions

Women’s fashion designer Celine signed a deal for 5,000 square feet at Vornado Realty Trust and Crown Acquisitions’ 650 Madison Avenue, paying an estimated $7.8 million in an annual rent. The deal also includes 800 square feet of additional storage space.

The deal was direct, with Vornado and Crown negotiating with the tenant for the space with no brokers, insiders said.

Celine, currently at 870 Madison Avenue, is one of several tenants on the avenue to relocate this year. The other high-end one is Balenciaga, which landed as number six on this ranking, taking space on the next block south at 620 Madison Avenue.

The Celine lease terms penciled out to roughly $1,300 per square foot, compared with Balenciaga’s lease at under $1,000 per square foot. Insiders pointed out that 650 Madison has extremely high 22-foot ceilings and is also one of the few buildings on the pricey stretch of Madison Avenue that is not subject to Landmarks Preservation Commission regulations. Because of that, Celine has greater freedom to brand the facade with its name, whereas Balenciaga and most Madison Avenue tenants are restricted in the kind of signage they can employ.

5) Tenant: Coty
Rent: $6 million
Address: 719 Seventh Avenue, Times Square
Landlord: SL Green Realty

Cosmetics manufacturer Coty inked a lease for its Cover Girl brand at 719 Seventh Avenue in Times Square, paying an estimated $6 million per year. The 10-year deal covers 10,040 square feet for the entire four-story building located at the corner of 48th Street. In addition to the retail, the lease also came with 5,800 square feet of LED billboards.

JLL’s Michael Hirschfeld represented Coty, while RKF’s Ariel Schuster, Ross Berkowitz, Mitch Heifetz and Jason Wecker represented the landlord SL Green.

6) Tenant: Balenciaga
Rent: $5 million
Address: 620 Madison Avenue, Plaza District
Landlord: Boston Properties

Fashion brand Balenciaga signed a lease at 620 Madison Avenue, paying an estimated $5 million in annual rent. The landlord, Boston Properties, was represented by Cushman & Wakefield and Colliers International. Balenciaga was represented by Isaacs and Company.

7) Tenant: Forever 21
Rent: $4.3 million
Address: 435 Seventh Avenue, Penn Plaza
Landlord: Vornado Realty Trust

Fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 signed a five-year deal to take former H&M space at 435 Seventh Avenue in the Penn Plaza district. The tenant will be paying landlord Vornado an estimated $4.3 million per year for the 43,000-square-foot space, located at the corner of 34th Street across from Macy’s.

Cushman & Wakefield agents Jason Greenstone, Michael O’Neill and Taylor Reynolds represented the retailer.

8) Tenant: Target
Rent: $3.85 million
Address: 1865 Broadway, Lincoln Square
Landlord: AvalonBay Communities

Target, one of the few big box retailers to sign multiple big deals this year, is paying an estimated $3.85 million in annual rent for a 35,601 space at AvalonBay Communities’ 1865 Broadway in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. The space is in the base of AvalonBay’s under-construction, 172-unit condominium and rental tower, that includes 70,000 square feet of retail at the base.

Ripco Real Estate’s Richard Skulnik represented Target, while JLL’s Patrick Smith, Matt Ogle, Corey Zolcinski and Erin Grace represented the landlord.

9) Tenant: Peloton
Rent: $3.4 million
Address: 450 West 33rd Street, Hudson Yards
Landlord: Brookfield Property Partners

Illustrating the influence of the fitness industry, the ninth most valuable lease was Peloton signing a deal for 26,000 square feet at 450 West 33rd Street, the Brookfield Property Partners rehabilitated office building in Hudson Yards. The studio gym chain that also has an online presence is paying approximately $3.4 million per year for the space. The landlord was represented by JLL and Peloton was represented by Newmark Knight Frank.

10) Tenant: Ralph & Russo
Rent: $2.85 million
Address: 680 Madison Avenue, Plaza District
Landlord: Thor Equities

British fashion designer Ralph & Russo inked a 15-year lease with an estimated annual rent of $2.85 million at Thor Equities’ 680 Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side. It’s the company’s first store in New York City.

The lease, for 5,800 square feet of space, has 2,300 on the ground floor and 3,500 square feet on the second floor.

The landlord was represented in-house by Sam Polese, Albert Dayan and Alexandra Frangos, while David Baker of Isaacs and Company represented Ralph & Russo.

The top 10 NYC retail leases by annual rent

RankTenant Annual RentAddressNeighborhoodLandlord
1McDonald's$11,500,0001530 BroadwayTimes SquareBow Tie Properties
2Puma$8,900,000609 Fifth AvenueMidtownWharton Properties; SL Green Realty
3 (tie)Tiffany and Company$8,000,0006 East 57th StreetPlaza DistrictWharton Properties; SL Green Realty
3 (tie)Celine$8,000,000650 Madison AvenuePlaza DistrictVornado Realty Trust; Crown Acquistions
5Coty$6,000,000719 Seventh AvenueTimes SquareSL Green Realty
6Balenciaga$5,000,000620 Madison AvenuePlaza DistrictBoston Properties
7Forever 21$4,300,000435 Seventh AvenuePenn PlazaVornado Realty Trust
8Target$3,850,0001865 BroadwayLincoln SquareAvalonBay Communities
9Peloton$3,400,000450 West 33rd Street,Hudson YardsBrookfield Property Partners
10Ralph & Russo$2,850,000680 Madison AvenuePlaza DistrictThor Equities