Manhattan Retail Boom Set to Continue

The New York retail market continues to heat up, according to executives at real estate brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

“Manhattan retail real estate continues to perform beyond expectations, and the supporting fundamentals point to sustainability,” said Gene Spiegelman, vice chairman of the company.   

In a report detailing statistics for the fourth quarter, Cushman & Wakefield said overall leasing activity in Manhattan totaled 7.2 million square feet, the highest quarterly leasing level since the second quarter of 2011.

Total leasing volume was 37.1 million square feet, the report said, representing the second-highest volume in a decade.

“We had a very strong quarter and expect momentum to carry over into 2014,” said Ron Lo Russo, president of Cushman & Wakefield. To meet growing consumer demand in Lower Manhattan, Spiegelman said retailers are continuing to flock to the area to take advantage of increasing tourist spending. Since 2012, 73 retailers have opened establishments downtown, he said.

By 2018, total retail sales in the area are expected to grow by 14.3 percent to $2.4 billion, according to the Cushman & Wakefield report. Approximately 970,000 square feet of new, renovated and repurposed retail space is currently being marketed in Lower Manhattan, Spiegelman said.

Among the notable store spaces being shopped around downtown are Brookfield Place — located off Vesey Street — and the $1.4 billion Fulton Center. The redevelopment projects will add a combined 300,000 square feet of retail space to the market when they are completed this year.

More broadly, in Manhattan, Nike Inc. and Skechers USA Inc. are among the footwear companies expected to capitalize on the momentum in Manhattan’s property market in the first half, according to real estate experts.

Nike is reported to be in negotiations to relocate from its current Midtown location to H&M’s 40,756-sq.-ft. position at 640 Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile, Skechers is said to be looking to expand its footprint in Manhattan this year, according to sources.

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