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Urban Outfitters Closes Its 14th Street Location In Manhattan After 2 Decades

526 Sixth Ave.

Hip clothing chain Urban Outfitters has closed its 14th Street location in Manhattan amid a turbulent time for New York City retail. 

The storefront at Mosbacher Properties Group’s 526 Sixth Ave. — located at the border of tony neighborhoods Chelsea and the West Village — recently shut down after more than 20 years, The Real Deal reported Wednesday. The clothier first signed a 27K SF lease at the address in 1999.

Urban Outfitters performed well in the first quarter, despite downsizing its footprint in the nation’s largest city over the past year — it had 10 locations across New York City in 2019 but only nine by the end of 2020, according to a December 2020 report from nonpartisan New York City think tank Center for an Urban Future.

This recent closure’s address is near Union Square, an area that saw 31 chain stores close between March 2020 and December 2020, according to the report.

It comes amid a tense moment for retailers around the city, both large and small: There was a 17% decline in the number of chain stores in Manhattan between 2019 and 2020, according to the report, while some 2,800 stores have closed in total throughout the city since the coronavirus pandemic began, the New York Times reported. Tourism, a huge driver of business for Manhattan retailers, is not anticipated to recover until 2025. 

Some retailers have even been taking their landlords to court over the past year in a last-ditch attempt to get out of their leases. Landlords have likewise sued their tenants over unpaid rent. 

The hard times have depressed retail real estate performance — asking rents were down by over 13% year-over-year last quarter and values of retail properties have plummeted. 

But some retailers have scored big in the downturn, taking advantage of the cheap sale prices and buying up the properties they use at a discount as they continue to decline. 

“The retail prices have no doubt dropped since Covid,” Avison Young Tri-State Investment Sales Group Head James Nelson told Bisnow last month in an article about this trend. “...We've seen several examples now of retailers stepping up and buying their properties and controlling their destiny."