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Manhattan Retail Rents Plummeted in Fourth Quarter

Fifth Avenue, Manhattan, New York | Source: Shutterstock

Manhattan’s retail pain is worsening as the pandemic drags on, with rents falling in every major shopping district.

Soho was hit the hardest in the fourth quarter, with average asking rents dropping nearly 22 percent to $290 a square foot, according to a report by brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Plc. Rents in the area, known for its many fashion boutiques, have been sliding over the past four years.

Asking rents tumbled 20 percent on lower Fifth Avenue — running from 42nd to 49th streets and dominated by big national chains. Upscale Madison Avenue saw a 16 percent decline.

Manhattan’s retail woes have intensified over the past year as social-distancing measures and Covid-19 spikes continue to keep shoppers home. Few businesses are looking to expand, and many have closed, leaving the city with swaths of empty stores.

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The supply of space is surging in most areas, with availability rates in key districts such as Fifth Avenue, Soho and Meatpacking at 24 percent or higher, according to Cushman. Madison Avenue, from 57th to 72nd streets, had the highest availability rate for the second straight quarter, reaching almost 40 percent at the end of the year.

The only submarkets that had a decline in available space were Herald Square/West 34th Street — home to the flagship Macy’s department store — and upper Fifth Avenue, running from 49th to 60th streets and famed for its luxury merchants.

One of the biggest leases in the quarter was by Target Corp. for a 27,600-square-foot store at 600 Broadway in Soho.

By Natalie Wong.

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