Commercial Property Executive September 2012 : Page 18

TrendTalk If They Can Make It There ... By Barbra Murray Few thespians would turn down the oppor-tunity to debut in New York City, and lately the same could be said of retailers. Be they of domestic or international origin, numerous purveyors hawking wares ranging from turtle-necks to tea leaves have decided to enter the Manhattan market recently. It’s the right loca-tion at, apparently, the right time. Practically every other week this summer, retail chains announced plans to venture into New York City for the fi rst time. Thirty-fi ve years after shoppers were fi rst able to avail themselves of Irvine, Calif.-based ASICS America Corp.’s athletic footwear in the United States, the opportunity has spread to New York. The manufacturer signed a lease in June with Savitt Partners for 3,500 square feet at 530 Seventh Ave. In July, Atlanta-headquartered Teavana, seller of loose-leaf teas and teaware, made the commitment. The fi ve-year-old chain inked a deal with The MP 1291 Trust to occupy ground-level space at 1291 Lexington Ave. Retailers’ increasing attraction to New York City boils down to numbers, but not the ones in an accountant’s ledger; headcount—or better yet, foot count—would be a more apt description. “When you speak to retailers, they always talk about footfall and how many footsteps they see and being able to get all of the tourists in; I think that probably is the biggest denominator today,” said Karen Bel-lantoni, executive vice president with retail real estate services fi rm Robert K. Futterman & Associates, which represented Teavana. Although the fi nancial crisis and ensuing recession squeezed pocketbooks around the world, New York City continued to attract tour-ists. In fact, according to NYC & Co., its offi cial marketing, tourism and partnership organiza-tion, the number of international and domestic visitors to Gotham has been on a consistent upswing since 2009, increasing from 45.6 mil-lion to 50.9 million in 2011. Last year marked 18 London-based Wasabi is entering the United States with a 3,400-square-foot fl agship destination at 561 Seventh Ave. in Manhattan. the highest level ever of visitors to the city. “They’re talking over 51 million visitors com-ing to New York this year, most of whom are going to hit Fifth Avenue and Times Square,” Bellantoni asserted. It’s a fact that bodes well for such newcomers as London-based Was-abi, which will open in a 3,400-square-foot fl agship destination at 561 Seventh Ave., hav-ing signed a lease with property owner Han-dler Real Estate Organization. The two-story space will be the sushi and bento chain’s fi rst location in the United States. However, retailers’ eagerness to set up shop in the City that Never Sleeps is spurred by more than just the people fl ocking in to see the town’s world-renowned attractions. “(With Wasabi), my interpretation as a building owner is they were looking for a site where they could get a good read from a number (continued on page 20) of different categories: Economist’s View This Election Year, Government Is a Drag! By Hugh F. Kelly, PhD, CRE Naiveté can be charming and frequently harmless. Occasion-ally, though, ingenuousness can be downright dangerous. Unfortunately, this is one of those times, when it comes to the U.S. economy. Earlier this year, I’ve written about elements of the private-sector economy, as measured by the per-sonal consumption expenditure (PCE) and the investment components of GDP. Overall, the private economy has been moving forward, expanding production, creating jobs and providing what recovery we have had from the Great Recession sur-rounding the Panic of 2008. Now it is time to look at government’s share of GDP. It isn’t pretty. In this troubled election year, government is not just lagging, it is dragging down the private sector’s eco-nomic vitality. This might appear absolutely obvious to small-government advocates of the Grover Norquist or Ron Paul persuasion. “Just what we expected,” they might say. But the eco-nomic evidence indicates that the govern-September 2012 | Commercial Property Executive


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