Under Armour to sublease planned Fifth Avenue flagship

Cushman is marketing 24K sf to sublet

Under Armour CEO Patrik Frisk and the GM Building (Getty, Google Maps, Cushman & Wakefield)
Under Armour CEO Patrik Frisk and the GM Building (Getty, Google Maps, Cushman & Wakefield)

It wasn’t so long ago that the sportswear brand Under Armour had big plans for a flagship store in the former FAO Schwarz at 767 Fifth Avenue.

But more than two years ago, Under Armour pushed the store’s opening back to 2021. Now, it may not open in the General Motors Building at all.

The retailer is subleasing 24,403 square feet of its total 53,000 square feet of space between East 58th and 59th streets. According to a public brochure on Cushman & Wakefield’s website, the available lease term runs through 2035.

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Under Armour and Boston Properties, the landlord of the GM building, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The former home of FAO Schwarz was coveted just five years ago, and was eyed by rival athletic brand Nike before Under Armour inked its deal.

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But times have changed. Tourism numbers have fallen on the luxury corridor, hurting retailers in the short term; in the long term, the pandemic has led many to rethink the advantages of a huge flagship altogether.

And Under Armour was already reconsidering its Fifth Avenue digs before the pandemic took hold. The company was facing weak demand in North America and executives said it would focus more on smaller, more potentially profitable locations.

“The Fifth Avenue location is a premier retail location, but we’re considering whether it may be better suited for someone else at this time,” CFO Dave Bergman said at the time, according to Market Watch.

Subleasing has become more common for office tenants in recent months, and experts believe an uptick in retail subleasing may soon follow.

Other tenants in the GM Building are also turning toward subleasing. In the commercial space above, hedge fund firm York Capital Management is looking to cut about 40 percent of its offices, Bloomberg News first reported.