Manhattan Retail

Manhattan retail space is some of the most coveted in the world, attracting crowds of pedestrian traffic daily who generate hundreds of millions of dollars in sales revenue. Flagships in SoHo and along Fifth Avenue can pay as high as $5,500 per square foot a year. With pricing that astronomical, brand name retailers are certainly banking on revenues from these locations to be equally high or, in the case of the Meatpacking District, absolutely nonexistent. A new phenomenon call “experiential stores” has emerged in the dynamic, chic Meatpacking District, where large tech companies are opening stores that sell nothing, but allow people to play around with new tech-gadgets. The most prominent leader of this new movement is Samsung, which recently leased the entire six-story building at 837 Washington St. Lexus Next year, Lexus will open a similar concept, Intersect by Lexus, at 412 West 14th Street. And just last week, Tesla Motors inked a lease for its latest showroom at 860 Washington Street. This new wave of concept stores comes at a time when retail vacancy in Meatpacking is on the rise, currently at an all time high of 22.2%. A shadow of its namesake, Meatpacking has become a prime tourist destination with the arrival of the Highline in 2009 and the relocation of the Whitney Museum. The trendy area is studded with high-end fashion boutiques, chic nightclubs, and trendy eateries. Perhaps the high retail vacancy rate is a result of construction going on in the area, which has become a massive nuisance to pedestrian traffic. But with pricing for retail space continuing to escalate in the area it will be interesting to see if Meatpacking can become the professed tech alley and home to “experiential” showrooms for all the latest tech innovations.