TRD’s ranking of top retail leasing brokerages in four major markets shows that a few thriving chains are offering bright spots in gloomy markets
New York City
Updated May Property owners seem to be willing to get a bit unconventional these days to keep rent payments rolling in amid the ongoing waves of store closures.
Indoor amusement parks, doctors’ offices, movie theaters, gyms and even discount stores — once considered undesirably downmarket — are plugging holes in vacancy-riddled shopping centers and storefronts as rents decline, leases shorten and concessions spike, brokers and owners say.
The Real Deal’s ranking of the top leasing deals and brokerages in major markets in the U.S. reveals that, despite efforts by national firms to boost their retail teams in recent years, the marketing of stores is still largely a local game outside of Los Angeles and New York City. “We’re all trying to do the best we can,” said Marty Shelton, an L.A.-based broker with NAI Capital, the second most active retail leasing brokerage in L.A. County, with 718,825 square feet rented over the past 12 months, according to TRD’s analysis.
To rank the top brokerages in leasing for Chicago, Miami, L.A. and New York, TRD examined data provided by commercial real estate services firm Lee Associates NYC on new retail leases and renewals in those markets from April 2017 to March 2018. Brokerage leasing totals and deals were shared with the firms, which were given the option to submit additional information.
The country’s most populous city, which is also a major draw for tourists on shopping sprees, has not been insulated from the retail collapse. Once-vibrant shopping districts in Manhattan — like Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Soho and Bleecker Street — continue to be pocked with empty storefronts.
As in other U.S. markets, the list of top New York leases over the past year includes many tenants in the business of offering “experiences,” a heavy-in-rotation retail buzzword.
To wit: The largest deal of the last 12 months was Equinox Fitness’ renewal of its nearly 66,000-square-foot, two-level space at Midtown’s One Park Avenue, a 22-story, full-block office building at East 32nd Street majority-owned by Vornado Realty Trust. The deal, which was handled in-house by Vornado, closed last spring.
Similarly, Chelsea Piers, the vast Manhattan sports complex, leased a 52,000-square-foot, two-level space at 33 Bond Street, a new 25-story rental in Brooklyn from developer TF Cornerstone. A 25-yard pool, yoga studios and a cafe will be included the property, which earned a fourth-place finish. In the transaction, the landlord was represented by Winick Realty Group, the fourth most active retail brokerage in New York, with 547,000 square feet under its belt.
Even though New York sees tens of millions of visitors a year, retail in tourism-rich districts like Times Square — including restaurant concepts that are performing well in other markets — has also struggled, b[……]