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Vans Leases Prime Fifth Avenue Space For Flagship Store

Skate shoe retailer Vans will soon occupy some of the priciest retail real estate in the country, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

The company signed an 8,573 SF lease at 530 Fifth Ave. between 44th and 45th streets, only a few blocks away from Grand Central Terminal, Commercial Observer reports. Thor Equities and General Growth Properties co-own the building with RXR Realty, but RXR only has a stake in the office condo.

Vans will occupy 2,563 SF on the ground floor and 6K SF below street level for its first flagship store in New York. It has boutiques in SoHo and Williamsburg, as well as two mall locations in Queens and Brooklyn. Although the length and price of the lease was not disclosed, asking rents in the area averaged $1,023/SF, according to a CBRE Q3 report.

Rents have been steadily dropping all across Manhattan since retail's fevered peak in 2014, and the area near Grand Central has been no exception: Its average asking rent was $1,366/SF three years ago, astronomical growth from its $420/SF average in 2010. Thor Equities has been reportedly struggling with leasing its retail properties; its signing of Vans could indicate that it has finally dropped prices enough to entice some takers.

Thor sold the neighboring plot at 520 Fifth Ave. to SMI USA and Cerruzzi Holdings in 2015, where the two are planning to build a mixed-use tower. Thor is still looking to unload some of its retail portfolio, including a mixed-use building at 685 Fifth Ave. it also owns with GGP, though no such offering has been made for 530 Fifth.