New York Retail, Spring 2000!
Still Has A Futuristic Ring, Doesn't It?

But the new century has indeed dawned -- on what is unquestionably the most vibrant and active retail market in the world. Last year, we continued to witness the birth of new retail neighborhoods and the renaissance of others, while the biggest and glossiest of Manhattan's retail centers became...well, bigger and glossier. And the opening weeks of the new year suggest that growth in 2000 will be as vigorous as ever.

Among the most notable trends is the continuing influx of European and Asian-based retailers. Where are they all going? That's equally notable, for gone are the days when offshore retailers congregated in two or three "exclusive" shopping districts. Today, virtually all of Manhattan is a magnet for stores with an upscale international flavor -- from upper West Side to the upper East Side, from Midtown to Flatiron and Soho, and right down to the Financial District.

Flatiron is a superb example. With the impending arrival of Sephora on a choice corner at 19th Street, some top-tier retailers are now present on a relatively short stretch of Fifth Avenue, south of Madison Square Park. Sephora will join Emporio Armani, Paul Smith, Country Road, Joan & David, Ann Taylor, Club Monaco, Zara, and bebe, among others, in a neighborhood that is rapidly becoming the equal of Soho as a world-class shopping destination.

Union Square and Chelsea are emerging as retail centers with enormous growth opportunity, as both locations reinvent themselves

Chanel, H. Stern, and Orlane will soon open in Soho, where shopping is a way of life, as have Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Vivienne Westwood, Via Spiga, Shiseido 5S, and Helena Rubinstein during the last year.

A little farther downtown, on the northern fringe of Little Italy, "NoLita" is quickly achieving fame as a fashionable up-and-coming extension of nearby Soho. Le Tanneur, Mark Schwartz, fresh, and Balthazar are among the pioneers of this district, taking advantage of rents that are still substantially below those of its better-known neighboring district.

Uptown, the evolving scene is every bit as exciting. Madison Avenue in the Seventies, for instance, is especially vibrant. In the 72nd Street area, one finds such stars as Ralph Lauren, Gianfranco Ferre, Sonia Rykiel, Prada, and Yves Saint Laurent. Michael Kors is about to open near the Whitney Museum, joining recent arrivals Christian Louboutin, Calypso, Richard Mishaan, and Carolina Herrera.

In general, Madison Avenue's "Gold Coast" seems to be growing longer and more golden. Other retailers that have come to the Avenue in the past year include Alfred Dunhill, Chloe, Sulka, Nino Cerutti, DKNY, Roberto Cavelli, Celine, David Yurman, Steuben, John Lobb, Hermes, Genny, Caron, Kieselstein-Cord, Pancaldi, Toni&Guy, and Longchamp, to name just a few.

While there is scarcely room to detail all of Manhattan's active retail districts, no commentary would be complete without mention of the Grande Dame -- Fifth Avenue -- which many observers said had lost much of its luster in the early '90s. The luster is back, but in tones that are richer and more complex. The elegance of Cartier, Prada, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Gianni Versace, Asprey, and Salvatore Ferragamo now co-exist amicably with Warner Bros., Coca Cola, Disney, and the NBA Store.

The mixture is electrifying and has made Fifth Avenue the most heavily trafficked tourist street in the world. Partly as a result, new retail opportunities continue to emerge in the Fifth Avenue corridor. Rockefeller Center, for example, is undergoing an exciting renewal. A few months ago, J. Crew opened across from the popular skating rink. Hennes & Mauritz will soon be across the way, at 50th Street. The new Brooks Bros. is just a few doors up.

Opportunities abound, as Manhattan thrives on its ever-more cosmopolitan nature and its irresistible allure for travelers the world over.

Faith Hope Consolo
Chairman, Retail Leasing & Sales Division
Prudential Douglas Elliman
Tel: 212-418-2020 / Fax: 212-418-2005