NEW YORK — New York’s Soho neighborhood is creating major retail buzz, as the area once again becomes a hotspot for footwear.
“Soho has really reinvented itself,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “A lot of desirable spaces came on the market, and since the downturn, the rents have been very affordable. It’s bringing back a fresh retail market.”
The Frye brand plans to bow its first flagship on Spring Street next summer, in a 6,000-sq.-ft. space. The shop will join labels such as Halston, Burberry and Chanel, in a district that attracts both local and visiting consumers, said Jimlar Corp. co-president Larry Tarica.
“We are very excited to present Frye in a broad range of benchcrafted products,” he said. “The Soho community is well-established as an environment for art, culture and fashion, and we expect it will continue to prosper.”
At the end of this month, Journeys will open a 2,500-sq.-ft. store on Broadway, near Foot Locker, Puma and David Z. Jim Estepa, president and CEO of Genesco Retail Group, agreed that the area is fashion-forward and a mecca for tourists, as well as students from New York University.
“We believe Soho is relevant to our customer and that we’ll bring something to the street that’s not there today,” said Estepa, who plans to open another Journeys store in the area.
Still, there are plenty of brands competing for consumers. Cole Haan bowed a store on Prince Street last month, Dr. Martens is debuting a flagship on Spring Street this month, and Converse will open a 7,000-sq.-ft. shop on Broadway before year-end.
In addition, Italy-based retailer Ash Footwear International recently signed a lease for a 2,800-sq.-ft. space, which will mark the firm’s first U.S. location.
Rag & Bone’s branded shoe shop, which debuted this summer on Houston Street, has performed well, according to brand co-founder and designer David Neville. “It’s great exposure to people who might not have known our brand,” he said.
The new openings join established players such as John Varvatos, who said that business is the strongest it has ever been. “Soho has an intimate neighborhood feel, with cobbled streets, cafés and specialty shops,” he said. “Both tourists and locals can’t help but make it their go-to destination for shopping.”