Bruce Brodoff Communications
Bruce Brodoff Communications
Downtown Alliance Sees Influx of Luxury Brands as Signaling Revival of Lower Manhattan Retail
June 22, 2006

Booming Commercial Activity, Residential Sector & Affordable Rents Lure New Stores Downtown

The Alliance for Downtown New York believes the new store Tiffany & Co., one of the world's finest jewelry companies, plans to open in Lower Manhattan is another sign of a resurgence in Downtown retail. Along with Tiffany & Co., luxury retailers Hermes, BMW and men's clothier Hickey Freeman have all recently opened or committed to opening retail stores in the Financial District.

"When three Fifth Avenue retailers sign leases below Chambers Street within a year, you know Downtown's retail renaissance has begun," said Eric Deutsch, president of the Downtown Alliance. "Tiffany & Co.'s return to Lower Manhattan, along with the recent arrival of other luxury retailers, is a very clear signal the area is the place to be for companies seeking to connect to a growing population of affluent and influential shoppers."

Tiffany & Co. plans to open its second shop in New York around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange at 37 Wall Street. The 7,600-square-foot store, which will be the building's exclusive retailer, is scheduled to open in fall 2007 and marks the return of the company to the neighborhood where it was founded more than 135 years ago.

"Tiffany's first opened on Lower Broadway in 1837, and opening a store near our original location takes us back to our roots in New York," said Beth Canavan, executive vice president of Tiffany & Co. "We've found the perfect site in a historic building that has style and grace, and is being restored as part of Lower Manhattan's dynamic redevelopment. Tiffany & Co. is very pleased to support this effort with a major presence in the area. The resurgence that's happening Downtown makes it an important place for us to be."

Lower Manhattan experienced an influx of mid- and high-end retailers in 2005, from new businesses such as BMW and Hickey Freeman to the expansion of district stalwarts Century 21, J&R Music and Computer World. In the first quarter of 2006, Sephora, Modell's Sporting Goods and the World of Golf either opened new stores or announced expansions in Lower Manhattan. Over the past year, a number of high-end restaurants including Bobby Van's Steakhouse, PJ Clarke's, Trinity Bar and Grill, and Harry's Caf and Steakhouse have opened, raising the profile of Downtown's culinary scene. What's more, Whole Foods Market, the world's leading natural and organic supermarket, has signed a lease to bring a 55,000-square-foot grocery store to Lower Manhattan by spring 2007.

These retailers are among the dozens that have opened or solidified plans in 2005 to open or expand throughout Lower Manhattan, which encompasses the area from the Battery to Chambers Street and from the East River to West Street. The businesses span the full spectrum of industry sectors -- including apparel, jewelry, cosmetics and food service -- that have taken advantage of Downtown's affordable rents. Rental rates for retail space in Lower Manhattan averaged $90 per square foot in the first quarter of 2006, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.

Lower Manhattan, which is the fourth-largest business district in the United States, also continues to attract small-and mid-sized firms that are drawn by affordable rents for office space, valuable business incentive programs, unparalled access to public transportation, a low crime rate, proximity to open space and the East and the Hudson Rivers, and historic architecture. Downtown is now home to 8,000 businesses a 6 percent increase since 2003 and, according to data provided by Cushman & Wakefield Inc., Downtown New York posted more than 750,000 square feet of commercial leasing activity in the first quarter of 2006. Recent proposed deals with major corporations that include AON, Moody's and Vantone represent approximately 1 million-square-feet of additional commercial office leasing activity.

The benefits of living and working Downtown have also resulted in the growing wave of people moving into the neighborhood. The number of residential apartments in Lower Manhattan has increased to 20,871 in 2006 from 13,046 in 2000, with the number of residents Downtown increasing 60 percent, to 36,733, between 2000 and March of this year.

This tremendous, consistent increase in commercial and residential activity is motivating a wide variety of retailers to continue to move to Lower Manhattan, which boasts a business and residential population that is among the most educated and affluent in the country. The approximately 212,000 people employed in its private sector companies enjoy an average annual salary of $136,700, while the average household income for Lower Manhattan is $153,000.

The steady influx of retailers Downtown is helping to reduce an estimated $1.4 billion in annual unmet demand for retail goods in Lower Manhattan. The long-term outlook for retail in Lower Manhattan is particularly bright, especially given the increasing and upwardly-mobile business and resident population, the upcoming refurbishment of General Growth Properties' South Street Seaport retail center, new retail opportunities at the Historic Front Street residential development and restoration project and the re-emergence of the successful shopping concourse at the World Trade Center site.

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