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Are Basements the Next Retail Goldmine?


A growing group of landlords and developers are looking down for the next frontier, pouring millions into basements that could be the stores, restaurants and entertainment spaces of the future. While basements have rarely produced steady income, landlords are still taking advantage of their “lower-level space” (“basement” is not as appealing, apparently), renting them to retail chains for $75 to $125 per SF. That’s quite attractive to retailers seeking a unique look and that have been paying thousands per SF in places like SoHo ($1k/SF), Times Square ($2k/SF) and Fifth Avenue ($5k/SF). The basement building boom also appeals to the offices above, since the buildings become more attractive with new shopping and dining options in their basements, as opposed to storage space. Fosun’s 28 Liberty St (pictured) is an example of this. Some developers are going above and beyond with their basement developments: the developers of Essex Crossing are now planning to build an uninterrupted, 700-foot-long pedestrian concourse called the Market Line that will run parallel to Broome Street and feature 100k SF of retail. [Crain's]