The 11 Biggest Online Native Retail Leases Signed In Manhattan Since 2019
Retail leasing in New York City appears to be making a recovery from its pandemic lows — in part, thanks to online-first brands leasing their first brick-and-mortar spaces.
These direct-to-consumer companies have found in recent years that they need physical stores, faced with the rising costs of acquiring customers via digital ads. Like online advertising, physical spaces increase brand awareness, CBRE Senior Analyst Hiro Imaizumi told Bisnow by email.
First-time tenants signed 184K SF of retail leases in the first three months of 2022, according to CBRE, but these companies have been proliferating for years. Here are the 11 biggest leases these companies have signed in Manhattan in recent years, according to CBRE data.
Store address: 19 Union Square West
Lease size: 16K SF
Online shoe retailer Zappos has been around since 1999, when it was pitched by founder Nick Swinmurn to investor Tony Hsieh — whose investment firm dropped $500M on the idea. Swinmurn left in 2006, and in 2009 Hsieh agreed to sell Zappos to Amazon for $1.2B, according to the store's website. The online retailer, which now also sells clothing, opened its first physical store as a Las Vegas pop-up in 2014, Women's Wear Daily reported at the time. Its Union Square address, which opened in 2020, was Zappos' first physical NYC location and followed the 2019 opening of a Louisville store.
Store address: 120 Fifth Ave. and 201 Columbus Ave.
Lease size: 8K SF and 4K SF
Online shoe retailer Allbirds, founded in 2016 by former New Zealand professional soccer player Tim Brown and renewable materials expert Joey Zwillinger, counts venture capital firms Tiger Global Management and Maveron among its investors. The sustainability-focused shoe brand signed two new leases in 2021: one in Lincoln Square and the other on Fifth Avenue in Flatiron. The shoe company has one London store and five in the U.S., according to Business of Fashion. Its first store opened in San Francisco in April 2017, and was followed just five months later at another retail space in NYC's SoHo neighborhood, CNBC reported at the time.
Store address: 80 Wooster St. and 870 Madison Ave.
Lease size: 9K SF and 5K SF
Founded 11 years ago, authenticated luxury consignment store The RealReal has signed two new leases in Manhattan within the past three years. It started with its smaller Lenox Hill store in 2019, but it signed the lease for its larger SoHo store in September 2021. The retailer went public in June 2018, according to reporting from Barron's.
Store address: 76 Greene St.
Lease size: 6K SF
Luxury clothing store AMIRI, founded by designer Mike Amiri in 2014, has grown into one of the biggest names to watch in fashion, Business of Fashion reported. Amiri received nominations for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent in 2018 and Menswear Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2019. The store's SoHo outpost, which AMIRI committed to in December 2020, sits alongside the neighborhood's cobblestone streets, with retail neighbors including other luxury names such as Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co., according to Popshop.
Store address: 106 Spring St.
Lease size: 6K SF
Activewear apparel brand Vuori, founded by designer and former runway model Joe Kudla in 2015 and given $400M in backing by Japanese investor SoftBank, signed the lease for a space in SoHo in November 2021. The California-based business started in the e-commerce world and expanded into physical stores in its home state — 106 Spring St. is its first East Coast address.
The building is owned by Dallas-based investment firm Paceline Equity Partners, which was represented by Newmark's Ross Berkowitz, Mitch Heifetz and Ariel Schuster in the lease, according to a press release. RIPCO's Richard Skulnik and Lindsay Zegans worked on behalf of Vuori in lease negotiations.
Store address: 113 Prince St.
Lease size: 5K SF
Founded in 1997 by Katia Barros and Marcello Bastos, colorful women's clothing retailer FARM Rio began establishing a U.S. presence in spring 2019, Harper's Bazaar reported at the time. It opened its flagship SoHo store on a short-term lease at the beginning of that year, which it renewed nine months later according to CBRE's data. The pre-war, co-op loft building features apartments directly above the store, which real estate agent Corcoran lists as having "high ceilings, oversized windows and beautiful hard wood floors."
Bronx and Banco
Store address: 480 Broome St.
Lease size: 4K SF
Australian womenswear designer and celebrity favorite Bronx and Banco, founded in 2009 by Natalie DeBanco, has offices in New York, Hong Kong and Sydney and is stocked by retailers including Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, according to its website. Its NYC store sits within a 1990s-built co-op, where home goods store Kamaro keeps it company as a fellow retail tenant. It signed its SoHo lease in June 2021.
Store address: 241 Lafayette St.
Lease size: 4K SF
Luggage store Peak Design — stocking everything from camera bags and gear to suitcases and backpacks — has its flagship store in San Francisco. But it opened its first East Coast store this spring, signing a NoLita lease with asking rents of $111 per SF, Commercial Observer reported at the time. The six-story building, constructed in 1990, is around the corner from the Museum of Ice Cream.
Store address: 99 Spring St.
Lease size: 3K SF
Shark Tank-famous sporting equipment store Bala Bangles, founded in 2018 by husband-and-wife duo Natalie Holloway and Max Kislevitz, sells weighted bracelets that can be worn to make workouts harder. The company's popularity soared in 2020, after all five Sharks went in on their product and a month before the pandemic trapped millions in their homes and away from gym weights they might otherwise opt for — the weights ended up on a Vogue end-of-year product list. The custom-designed SoHo pop-up store is the brand's first physical space and will be open until September this year, according to Design Milk.
Store address: 285 Lafayette St.
Lease size: 3K SF
Online sneaker retailer HypeClub, which lets users of its online platform buy and sell shoes, opened its flagship store at the Kushner-owned SoHo building on Lafayette Street in spring 2021, Commercial Observer reported at the time. The store has leases of 1K SF on the ground floor and 2K SF on a lower level.
Leap Services Inc.
Store address: 293 Lafayette St. and 373 Bleecker St.
Lease size: 3K SF and 1K SF
Leap leases retail storefronts on long-term deals with landlords, then subleases the spaces to retailers on more flexible terms. It was founded in 2018 to take advantage of the growing e-commerce-to-physical store pipeline. Founder Amish Tolia recently spoke to Bisnow's podcast about how his company is navigating the retail environment two years after the start of the pandemic. Leap signed leases for its two newest spaces, in NoLita and Greenwich Village, in late 2021 and early 2022, respectively.