Meet Manhattan’s new commercial-boom corridor: Broadway from East 26th Street to West 34th. The increasingly vibrant stretch spans four micro-markets typically regarded as distinct: Nomad, Koreatown, Greeley Square and Herald Square.
But there’s growing continuity thanks to new development and investment. Even as the pandemic remains a force, glamorous new hotels are ready to open; office buildings have been repositioned and “re-imagined”; and rents are holding up in a tough market.
Even the long-shabby retail scene is on the upswing as shops like wine merchant Vin Sur Vingt and hip eateries like The Smith replace discount jewelry and electronics merchants.
Marcus & Millichap investment-sale broker Eric Anton mused, “Could Herald Square be the new Bryant Park?”
Anton is marketing the leasehold recapitalization of the bankrupt, 120-year-old Martinique hotel at 1260 Broadway at West 32nd Street. The 531-key landmark, currently closed, includes 13,000 square feet of retail. It just completed a six-year, $40 million renovation/restoration.
Sources said the leasehold’s remaining 68 years could fetch in the $70 million-$75 million range. Anton said the current owners would prefer a joint-venture arrangement. He said two JV offers have already come in, with both bidders hoping to reopen the Martinique as a Hilton Curio-flagged inn to guests later this year.
Anton is also marketing a 99-year leasehold at 1270 Broadway, a prewar office building facing Greeley Park and next door to the Martinique. Both offerings, he said, reflect a wish by longtime family owners to exploit the area’s rising fortunes. He said office building sale offerings on Broadway are asking $500 to $700 per square foot.
The rental scene south of Herald Square has held up reasonably well in today’s weakened markets. Overall asking rents including sublease space averaged $75 per square foot in the fourth quarter and vacancies 11.4 percent, according to CBRE. The latter marked a large jump over 6 percent in 2019 but compared favorably with a current overall Manhattan vacancy rate of 15 percent.
Typifying the optimistic spirit is Global Holdings Management Group’s recent $50 million redesign of 1250 Broadway. To orient the office tower to increasingly chic Nomad, they moved the entrance from the bustling, restaurant-packed block of West 32nd to West 31st Street.
But Anton believes that the Korean-food concentration is an asset. “During the worst winter in the city’s history, 32nd Street had more outdoor seats than anywhere else,” Anton said.
The corridor which Anton says was once known as the “perfume and socks district” is “blossoming rapidly,” agreed CBRE’s Paul Amrich, vice chairman of his firm’s New York City Advisory & Transaction Services Group. He credited the trend to excellent subway service and to the spirits-lifting effect of new hotels that will soon include a Ritz-Carlton and a huge Virgin Hotel in the West 20s.
His team is marketing 150,000 square feet of offices at 1245 Broadway, a nearly finished new building at Broadway and West 31st Street. It scored a retail coup with a lease for a “plant-based” restaurant from star chef Matthew Kenney to open in 2022.
It’s a far cry from greasy sausages that are still sold on some sidewalks — and a taste of things to come.
Union Square’s image as a vibrant, multi-use neighborhood took an unfair hit when a few popular restaurants facing the park closed last year.
To counteract the negative impression, a report just out from the Union Square Partnership found the district seething anew with commercial energy.
Thirty-three stores and restaurants have either opened or announced plans to open since January 2020. Target will open at 10 Union Square East in 2023. This year will see the arrival of a giant UrbanSpace food hall at the new, mixed-use project known as Zero Irving at 124 E. 14th St. Already open are Café Salmagundi, Gorin Ramen, Concepts International footwear and Happy Socks.
Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Falk cited the area’s strength as a true “15-minute neighborhood” with a “wealth of amenities and resources within walking distance or a short bike ride.”
The Partnership said the influx “underscores the resiliency of the district,” which is home to businesses of all types, the Union Square Greenmarket, the New School, 73,000 residents and beloved retailers such as the Strand bookstore.
One million square feet of development and redevelopment, reflecting $850 million in investment, are also recharging the batteries. The onetime Tammany Hall building at 44 Union Square had a dramatic restoration and expansion including a multi-story glass dome, for commercial use. A hotel is due at 16 E. 16th St. Two boutique condo buildings are rising at Sixth Avenue and West 14th Street.
So, everybody’s heading for Miami, right? Well, a hugely popular Miami men’s hair salon is coming to New York.
The Spot Barbershop will soon launch its first expansion outside Florida at 332 Bowery between East Second and Third streets. Newmark’s JD Cohen and Michael Paster repped the tenant while the firm’s Brandon Eisenman and Andrew Connolly acted for the landlord.
The lease is for 4,600 square feet. “We started looking for space back in November during the height of COVID-19, as they were very bullish on expanding to the New York City market,” said Cohen.
Spot offers haircuts and grooming for men at three Miami locations among 18 in South Florida.