REAL ESTATE

A hotel and retail are planned for American Stock Exchange

BY Al Urbanski

In 1921, the New York Curb Market Agency decided to move its longtime practice of stock trading off the streets and indoors to a building on Greenwich Street in Lower Manhattan. Now the original home of the American Stock Exchange will be housing curb retail.

In a joint venture, GHC Development and Clarion Partners will be reconfiguring and offering up 123 Greenwich Street — just one block from the World Trade Center — to retailers and other commercial ventures.

GHC Development acquired the property and the adjacent 22 Thames Street development site in 2011 and worked with the Landmarks Preservation Commission to separate the assets and transfer air rights to the development site. GHC, which sold the site in 2012, now is focused on remaking it with a high-rise hotel with retail tenants at street level.

Retail GLA will comprise approximately 80,000 sq. ft. over three levels, including two distinct 25,000-sq.ft. column-free floorplates with ground-floor identity and entrances fronting both Greenwich Street and Trinity Place.

GHC CEO Allan Fried sees the property playing an important role in what he calls the “transformative renaissance of Lower Manhattan. “This trophy property represents a singular opportunity for a retail or entertainment user…to create a one-of-a-kind presence and experience,” Fried submitted.

The original building was designed by architects Starrett and Van Vleck, the same firm that designed the Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, and Lord & Taylor flagships in New York.

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REAL ESTATE

Going-out-of-business sales start at Toys ‘R’ Us

BY Marianne Wilson

It’s closing time—almost—for some Toys “R” Us stores.

The nation’s largest toy store retailer received court approval to move forward with its plans to shutter some 180 stores across its Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us banners nationwide. Liquidation sales at some of the locations started on Wednesday.

The sales, which are being operated by a consortium made up of Gordon Brothers, Hilco Merchant Resources, Tiger Capital Group and Great American Group, will offer shoppers up to 30% discounts. Store furniture and fixtures will also be available for sale. The sales are expected to run through mid-April

Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy protection in September. In January, it announced plans to close up to 182 stores as part of its reorganization plan.

“The reinvention of our brands requires that we make tough decisions about our priorities and focus,” stated Toys “R” Us CEO Dave Brandon in a note on the company’s website last month. “The actions we are taking are necessary to give us the best chance to emerge from our bankruptcy proceedings as a more viable and competitive company that will provide the level of service and experience you should expect from a market leader.”

Toys “R” Us’ 83 locations in Canada are not part of the scheduled store closings.

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Fast-casual eatery in expansion mode

BY Marianne Wilson

Melt Shop is expanding its footprint in the Northeast — and the Middle East.

The company, which describes itself as a pioneer of the melted sandwich movement, has signed three franchise agreements to develop 26 locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Staten Island, and the Middle East. To date, Melt Shop has nine locations open, with plans to grow to 100 locations over the next five years.

“We could not be more thrilled with the level of excitement and interest from prospective franchisees so soon after launching our franchise program. We’re looking forward to continuing this momentum in 2018 and recruiting even more qualified partners to join the brand,” said Spencer Rubin, founder and CEO Melt Shop.

Melt Shop recently announced it would open 18 locations across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware with new franchise partner Drew Smith, a seasoned multi-unit franchisee with Five Guys.

Founded by Rubin in 2011, Melt Shop began franchising in 2017 after opening eight corporate locations throughout New York, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis. The company signed a multi-unit deal to open seven restaurants in the Middle East, four of which will open by the second quarter of 2018. Several domestic locations will open in 2018, including in Delaware and Staten Island Mall in Staten Island, New York.

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