Starbucks signs big lease at base of Empire State Building

Asking rent on ground floor was $325 psf

Starbucks is bringing a high-concept store to a giant triplex at the base of the Empire State Building (Illustration by The Real Deal)
Starbucks is bringing a high-concept store to a giant triplex at the base of the Empire State Building (Illustration by The Real Deal)

Starbucks will soon bring far more than the above-average cup of joe to the Empire State Building.

The Seattle-based coffee giant has signed a 23,000-square-foot lease for what could potentially be a high-concept store similar to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in the company’s hometown, according to sources. It will move from its 1,500-square-foot location at the western end of the landmark to a giant triplex at the northeast corner of the building, sources said.

The new space will have about 9,200 square feet on the ground floor with 86 feet of frontage along Fifth Avenue and another approximately 60 feet along West 34th Street. The rest of the shop will extend onto the concourse level and second floor. The asking rent was $325 per foot for the ground floor.

Starbucks in recent years has expanded its roastery and tasting room concept outside of Seattle. In 2016, the company brought the concept to the Meatpacking District in Manhattan and later to Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. This new location will not have a roastery but could sell alcohol, food and branded merchandise while also offering private dining areas that could also offer coffee tastings.

Office tenants at the Empire State Building — such as LinkedIn — will have access to the Starbucks from interior entrances. Visitors to the observation deck, which Empire State Realty Trust spent $150 million redeveloping, will descend to an exit near the Starbucks, facilitating a flow of tourists into the coffee shop.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

A spokesperson for Starbucks said the company is in the early stages of the concept work and redevelopment plans for the store, and does “not have additional details to share at this time.”

The Shopping Center Group’s David Firestein represented Starbucks. Cushman & Wakefield’s Joanne Podell and Mary Clayton represented the landlord, Empire State Realty Trust, along with Fred Posniak in-house. The companies and brokers declined to comment.

Starbucks is taking over the former Heartland Brewery restaurant and the space currently occupied by Chipotle. Chipotle renewed its lease and will move to the current Starbucks spot on the west end of the building. Starbucks will relocate to a temporary space during renovations.

The lease was signed before New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned non-essential workers from going into offices. Until at least May 15, restaurants and bars are only allowed to provide takeout services.

Lois Weiss writes the real estate column “Between the Bricks ®.” She is formerly of the New York Post.