New York City continues to be magnet for world's retailers

Steven Spinola
President, Real Estate Board of New York

High demand and limited availability are what kept the New York City retail market strong in 2012 according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s Fall Retail Report.

The report, which compiled data about asking rents for available space provided by a broad cross-section of the city’s leading retail brokers, indicated that the market showed continued signs of improvement overall with high demand and limited availability, significantly driving up asking rents in the most prestigious shopping corridors.

Those prestigious retail corridors include Lower Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 49th streets and the Flatiron District. Asking rents increased substantially in these corridors due to the booming NYC tourism industry and an improving economy.

The scarcity of space in prime location has led to asking rents in those areas to be at an all-time high.  Furthermore, the lack of availability on Fifth Avenue between 49th and 59th Streets has led to high profile tenants considering space immediately south along Fifth Avenue which has comparable foot traffic.

Other shopping corridors which had growth in ground floor asking rents were Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets where asking rents were up 31 percent to $1,833 per square foot since Spring 2012; East 57th Street between 5th Avenue and Park Avenue with asking rents up 28 percent to $884 per square foot since the Spring; and the Herald Square corridor where rents increased 22 percent to $683 per square foot since the Spring and 42 percent since Fall 2011.

Asking rents are influenced by a broad range of factors such as street frontage, the depth of store space, column spacing, ceiling heights, possible additions of mezzanine or lower level selling space, as well as accessibility to mass transportation.

It should be noted that all of the data in REBNY’s Report was collected before the arrival of Superstorm Sandy.  While some of the retail corridors were in areas impacted by the storm, our advisory group believes that in the long-term, this will not deter retailers from wanting to open or operate stores in these areas. The strength of the market and the desirability of New York City supersedes any temporary store closings in those affected neighborhoods.

In other REBNY News:

It’s real estate’s biggest night of the year for the 117th year running, the Real Estate Board of New York’s Annual Banquet on January 17, 2013 will honor a distinguished group of industry leaders who have had noteworthy success and demonstrated continued commitment to the city and the industry. This year’s honorees are Donald Zucker, Mike Fishman, Dottie Herman, Woody Heller, Dick Concannon and William Montana. The event will be at the New York Hilton Hotel. REBNY advises to get your tickets early. For more information, contact MaryAnn Aviles at or 212-532-3100.

You can still donate through two funds created for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City set up a donation page for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts on its website at and click on Hurricane Sandy Relief. Checks can be payable to: Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, 253 Broadway, 8th Floor, New York City, NY 10007. For more information, call 212-788-7794. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo created the Empire State Relief Fund, aimed at rebuilding and restoring damaged homes from Hurricane Sandy. To donate, visit or text “RELIEF” to 80000 to make a $10 donation.