WEST VILLAGE INS & OUTS:

Paul Smith Is In
Mulberry, Black Fleece & Marc Jacobs Men's Are Out On Bleecker

BleeckerPaulSmith
Remember when Bleecker Street was such a hot retail address that the older stores were being pushed out and replaced with new designer boutiques at a breakneck pace?
Well, that's over.
As luxury labels retrench in the face of economic uncertainty, Bleecker street is suddenly looking less like a hotspot and more like a tony neighborhood in a holding pattern, perhaps a couple of years behind the neighboring Meatpacking District where once precious retail space is now available in greater abundance. Since the Holiday season, A few more Bleecker Street storefronts have gone empty. Mulberry has quietly exited its outpost at 387 Bleecker leaving it with larger stores on both Madison Avenue and Spring Street in SoHo. Perhaps a tiny store that benefited from Bleecker Street's hotspot-of-the-moment glamor is no longer such an imperative when there are other bigger stores in more heavily trafficked neighborhoods with more potential for sales volume and brand visibility.
Mulberry is not the only company reconsidering its retail strategies. Marc Jacobs is in still the midst of re-inventing his own label. Since the Marc by Marc Jacobs label that made up most of his Bleecker Street stores' offerings has been discontinued, his West Village colony of shops is in a transition of its own. It was always a kind of free-flowing arrangement with stores regularly switching places. With Want Les Essentials de la Vie having already having taken over one of the designer's former shops, the latest branch to bite to the dust is the teeny tiny men's store whose windows are now blacked out. That leaves Jacobs with only his original shop at 403/405 Bleecker, Bookmarc across the street at #400 and the beauty store at #385, which is still a strong showing, but we are still wondering how things will settle retail wise for Marc. His men's store has always been problematic. Having bounced around from one of Jacobs' West Village locations to another, it always seemed to wind up in the same stall-like space that could only hold a few customers at a time and seemed like a poor setting for one of America's premier designers to present his collections. Part of this probably results from the fact that Jacobs has been candid over the years about his personal disinterest in menswear as a designer. He rarely if ever wears his own brand, preferring more attention getting outfits from labels like Comme des Garçons and most recently being very vocal about buying copious amounts of Alessandro Michele's first Gucci collection. His lack of interest is reflected at retail where the label has little traction in menswear, and industry watchers are wondering if the men's division has many more seasons left at all without stronger direction. Closing its store couldn't be seen as a sign of faith in the division.
While once it was incredibly difficult for a retailer to even acquire a space on Bleecker Street in its most desirable stretch between Christoper Street and Hudson Street, now a prospective retailer has something of a selection. Since Brooks Brothers has sadly discontinued its Thom Browne designed Black Fleece collection, its boutique at 351 Bleecker at the corner of West 10th Street has also been shuttered leaving another prime spot open, and more space at 345 Bleecker will be available soon as Comptoir des Cotonniers has posted a closing notice in the window of its unit there. In addition, the empty where the neighborhood favorite Manatus Restaurant once served up classic diner fare is still empty after it was forced out nearly two years ago in hopes of attracting a higher paying tenant who has yet to show up.
It's not all bad news, however. As promised, Paul Smith has opened up a temporary store at 357 Bleecker Street (pictured above) to replace his original Flatiron store. As reported, it's smaller than the shuttered  lower Fifth Avenue boutique, but Smith promises a bigger permanent unit on the way. So far the store is only carrying early Spring deliveries heavy on his lower priced label, PS. Perhaps even after a more impressive space  presents itself, Smith, who has also streamlined his profusion of labels, should consider hanging on to the Bleecker Street store as a PS-only shop. It would fit in perfectly with the street's more recent focus on slightly more accessible designer labels, and it would fill up a shop that might otherwise not find a tenant a swiftly as it might have a few years ago.

Previously:
Paul Smith Is Leaving Flatiron For Bleecker Street. . . For Now

See a gallery of closing notices after the jump.

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Paul Smith Is In
Mulberry, Black Fleece & Marc Jacobs Men's Are Out On Bleecker
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ROVING BOUTIQUE:

Paul Smith Is Leaving Flatiron For Bleecker Street. . . For Now

PaulSmithMoving
The Flatiron District will be dealt a blow next week when the Paul Smith boutique at 108 Fifth Avenue (pictured above) permanently closes its doors and moves to a temporary space on Bleecker Street in the West Village. While the designer has a flagship store in SoHo, a Williamsburg location and a new outpost at Brookfield Place in the Financial District, the Fifth Avenue store was Smith's first in New York opening in 1987. It was one of the first designer stores in the neighborhood and, along with Emporio Armani on the other side of 16th Street (now a closed Joe Fresh), established Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 14th Streets as a bona fide shopping destination that seemed to be geared more toward downtown dwelling New Yorkers than tourists or bridge-and-tunnel shoppers. Even though the neighborhood eventually became more of a destination for chain stores that made it something of a mall without the mall (Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, H&M, Victoria's Secret etc.), The Paul Smith boutique maintained its place as the high-end lynchpin for the neighborhood for nearly 30 years, even expanding downstairs.
Smith won't miss a beat, however. As clearly stipulated in the window (pictured below) the Bleecker Street store will open on Monday It is a more compact 1,000 square feet to Fifth Avenue's 1,800, but it is technically a temporary location to serve until a more suitable permanent spot is found. Where it will ultimately land remains to be seen, but the hands-on designer has been known to be extremely picky about where he places his boutiques, so wherever it is, expect it to be perfectly chosen all in good time.

Paul Smith Relocates to Temporary Site in Manhattan (WWD)
PaulSmithMovingSign


TRAVELING TECH:

SonyStyle To Say So Long To Midtown

SonyWonderAs soon as Sony sold its Midtown tower a couple of years ago, it seemed inevitable that a new owner would probably be waiting for the media and electronics giant to relinquish its hold on the building's valuable Madison Avenue retail space, and that is what is about to happen. The SonyStyle store is now set to vacate its current home for retail space in its parent company's new home at 11 Madison Avenue right by Madison Square Park. While some still know 550 Madison Avenue by its original name, the AT&T Building, the structure shook the skyline with the striking, outsized postmodern pediment at its top and became the Sony Tower in the Early 90s. SonyStyle has been a showcase for the brand's various products ever since, and while there was once a chain of such stores throughout the U.S., the company's retail devotion was reduced earlier last year to the one store in New York and another in Los Angeles as the consumer electronics market has rapidly evolved over the past two decades. How the store's downtown replacement will look remains to be seen, but it will be hard to match the soaring ceilings inside the store and in the dramatic passageway that cut through the building between 55th and 56th Streets. Once an open-air space that was majestic but cold, Sony took the step of reconfiguring the public space and enclosing it making it more useful for both retailers and passersby. Look for the retail complex, divided by the building's lobby and entryway, to be marketed as two separate store spaces, but not after some extensive renovation. Presumably, the free-to-the-public Sony Wonder Technology Lab (pictured) described as "state-of-the-art technology and entertainment museum" will also be vacating, but it is not known if it will be replicated in the new store. For its part, Sony is relocating its store to a neighborhood on the other side of Madison Square Park from the trendy NoMad area to a neighborhood better known for luxury home furnishing showrooms and Shake Shack, which makes us think that the replacement store will be more of an open showroom for Sony products than a store looking to capture midtown tourist business.

Sony to shutter longtime Madison Avenue store as it moves south (Crain's)


RELOCATION RUMOR:

FAO Schwarz Headed To The Brill Building Together With Toys "R" Us

BrillBuildingNYCThe saga of where Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwarz will ultimately plant their flagship stores appears to have been concluded as The Commercial Observer reports that both stores —which are jointly owned— will move into the historic, about-to-change-hands Brill Building (pictured at right) on the corner of Broadway and 49th Street for a combined store. The companies are reportedly in negotiations with the landmark building's future owners for all or part of the 50,000 square feet of retail space that will be available when renovations are finished.
New Yorkers with fond memories of FAO Schwarz's Fifth Avenue toy palace may be disappointed to learn that its new home would be combined with the more pedestrian Toys "R" Us chain, robbing it of its exclusive veneer, and that is reportedly what scuttled the deal for a new store a block up the street at 1633 Broadway. That building's owners were apparently happy to have FAO Schwarz planted in front of its tower, however they balked at having the more Toys "R" Us mass market brand sharing what they were marketing as a prestige space. The Brill Building, for its part, is best known as the center of the pop music industry during the mid-20th Century, housing legendary songwriters like Burt Bacharach, Hal David, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Phil Spector, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller to name just a handful of the hitmakers who called it their professional home. It was still home to the beloved Colony Records music store until 2012 when the last vestige of the ornate Art Deco building's legendary past finally succumbed to closure.
Of course, nobody involved is confirming any news of a new combined toy store flagship yet, and the deal wouldn't be finalized until after the Brill Building's new owners close on their acquisition near the end of this year. A new store opening is still fairly far off, but this looks like the deal that may bring FAO Schwarz back in operating form in Manhattan, if not exactly in the form its nostalgic fans might be hoping for.

FAO Schwarz and Toys “R” Us Looking to Open Combo Store at Brill Building (Commercial Observer)


BUSTED PLANS:

FAO Schwarz Will Not Relocate To Times Square —Remains Storeless

1633BwayIt seemed like such a tidy plan.
FAO Schwarz, the legendary luxury toy store finally forced out of its Fifth Avenue home as a result of skyrocketing rents would build a new flagship across town near Times Square in an Apple Store like underground space with a splashy entry pavilion on Broadway between 50th and 51st Streets to be ready, hopefully, around Holiday season of next year.
It turns out that the plan was just a little bit too tidy as reports surfaced over the weekend that the deal has fallen through just a week before it was to be finalized, leaving the beloved retailer without a brick-and-mortar retail outlet for the foreseeable future. The 40,000 square foot space will still be developed, and is reportedly on the market with a $4 million rent. Compounding the issue, FAO Schwarz's parent company, Toys 'R' Us will also be closing its flagship in Times Square next year without designating a replacement site in the city. As New York's toy shoppers wring their hands, we all wait breathlessly to find out the fate of these stores. Stay tuned.

FAO Schwarz Deal Goes Bust at 1633 Bway (NYObserver)
Previously:
Reportedly: FAO Schwarz ThisClose To Signing A Times Square Lease


MINOR RELOCATION:

Adidas Originals Will Move To Spring Street This September

AdidasOriginalsWoosterSt
Adidas Originals has a distinctive store on Wooster Street (pictured above) with a retractable garage door-style front that opens up to the street when the weather permits. It's a cute, memorable store that does a great job of representing the sub-brand's image only a few blocks away from the big Adidas flagship at Broadway and Houston Street.
For a corporately owned showcase, it has some personality.
So it's moving.
The Observer reports that Adidas has leased a 3,100 square foot space with another 2,100 square feet in the basement for 10 years at 115 Spring Street between Mercer and Greene streets that used to be the Opera Gallery, one of the few remnants of the days when SoHo was really a gallery district with a few high fashion boutiques scattered throughout. Reportedly, the gallery's lease was bought out by the landlord, apparently to snare a more lucrative retail tenant.
Though it is currently on a desirable but relatively quiet block of Wooster between Houston and Prince Streets, the new space will bring Adidas Originals a little bit closer to the hustle and bustle of SoHo's Broadway stretch on the more heavily foot-trafficked Spring Street. The store is eyeing a September opening, but it is unlikely that the open-air front will be replicated in the landmarked district, so enjoy the airy Wooster Street shop while you can.

Adidas Relocating Soho Store to SL Green Property (Commercial Observer)


SNEAK PEEK:

Rizzoli's New Store Will Open In 1 Week

InsideRizzoli
It is still hard for The Shophound to walk past the space on West 57th Street where gorgeous Beaux Arts townhouse that used to house the Rizzoli Bookstore once stood, but the good news is that the store's downtown replacement is scheduled to open in one week. July 27th is the announced date for the store's return at the respectably ornate 1133 Broadway at 26th Street in NoMad. The scaffolding covering the storefront came down yesterday as workers installed the windows and entrance for the new location (see the rendering of the finished store below), so we got an unscheduled peek inside. While it will be nearly impossible to recreate the midtown store's lavish interior, it appears that the new space will still reflect a similar elegance appropriate to the the St. James Building's Gilded Age style. It was a bit hard to see exactly how big the store will be, but it appears that it may connect at some point to the Italian cafe La Pecora Bianca set to open next month in the same building. We won't have too long to wait to find out for sure. As you can see in the photo above, the books are already on the shelves, so the chance to once again peruse your favorite art volumes, imported magazines and high class porn classy coffee table "erotica" books is only days away.
Rizzoli-Exterior-2


MANDATORY RELOCATION:

Meatpacking District Boutique Owen Forced To Close At Month's End

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New York's ruthless real estate scene has claimed another widely admired store as WWD reports that OWEN, which only opened in 2012, is being forced to close at the end of July due to redevelopment of the Meatpacking District building that houses it. It turns out that the store's lease had run out, but the landlord allowed it run from month to month until plans were confirmed to demolish the entire building at 809 Washington Street and rebuild it. The entire block of 48 Gansevoort Street to 74 Gansevoort Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets is reportedly set for a historic restoration and renovation pending the usual approvals by the Department of Buildings, Community Board 2 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Well, at least Owen wasn't forced out by some exorbitant rent increase, but the store is being pushed out nonetheless.
Owner Phillip Salem promises that Owen will return. “I’m going to revamp and relaunch the store. This could be the blessing we need to take the store to the next level,” he tells WWD, and is looking for a new location somewhere downtown. Salem made a name for Owen by focusing on emerging independent designers like Cushnie et Ochs, Jonathan Simkhai, Olcay Gulsen, Tanya Taylor, A.L.C. and Suno to name a few and opened with a striking interior design that featured open paper lunch bags fastened to the walls and ceiling. Those bags will have to come down soon. "On the last day everybody can take a paper bag as a memory," he tells WWD. Hopefully they will reappear in a new space without having to wait for too long. While the boutique is on hiatus, Salem will keep the name alive with the Owen branded handbag line that he has been selling since 2014. In the meantime, Owen fans should be sure to visit the store before it is gone at the end of the month, and grab one of those paper bags for the memories.

Redevelopment in the Meatpacking District Sends Owen Packing (WWD)


RAPID EXPANSION:

Roland Mouret Is Already Moving To A Bigger Store On Madison Avenue

1005Madison
Though it has only been open for less than a year, WWD tells us that Roland Mouret's flagship store on Madison Avenue is ready to move to a new space nearby that is nearly four times the size. The new store, a 5,250 square foot 6-floor townhouse at 1006 Madison (pictured above) is said to better reflect the feeling of Mouret's London boutique with 20 foot ceilings and multiple levels to house the designers' expanding array of product offerings. Located a block or so north of his current store at no. 925, the new space will still be within the section of Madison Avenue that is under extra scrutiny lately as it includes the newly opened Apple Store as well as the Whitney Museum's recently vacated Breuer Building that will soon become a satellite of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Even more foot traffic is expected to be directed above 72nd Street. Other neighbors include Christian Louboutin, Missoni, and the Carlyle and Mark hotels, making the former home to the Peress Lingerie boutique something of a sleeper location waiting for a better use. There's no word on when the store will be ready to move, in fact, new os the lease comes not from Mouret but the owner of the building, Thor Equities. For the moment, expect Roland Mouret to stay right where it is for at least another season or two while its expansive new home undergoes what is expected to be some major renovations.

Roland Mouret Flagship to Quadruple in Size (WWD)


REPORTEDLY:

FAO Schwarz ThisClose To Signing A Times Square Lease

1633-broadway-renderingThough FAO Schwarz has only a couple of weeks left before it leaves its longtime home in the GM Building, it looks likely that it will be back in Manhattan by 2016's Holiday season in a retail space that is remarkably similar to its soon to be former neighbor the Apple Store. The Commercial Observer reports that, as had been rumored earlier,  the legendary toy store is about to wrap up negotiations to move into an underground space currently being reconfigured at the Paramount Building at 1633 Broadway between 50th and 51st Streets, Originally a sunken plaza not unlike the one that predated the Apple Store in front of the GM building, the new space will have a street level entryway similar to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store's "Cube" (rendering above) which will lead to 40,000 square feet on two underground levels with 14-foot ceilings, allowing for some of the dramatic displays that made FAO Schwarz famous. The Observer reports that the 15-year lease will cost about $4 million per year, a substantial savings on the reported $15.6 million it currently pays on Fifth Avenue, not to mention the increase it would pay had it chosen to remain where it is.
Executives at Toys 'R' Us, FAO Schwarz's parent company, have declined to confirm the new location for the store, but one would be hard pressed to find a better new location for the tourist magnet.

FAO Schwarz Wrapping Up Negotiations for Xmas 2016 Opening in Times Square (Commercial Observer)
Previously:
Fifth Avenue Farewell: FAO Schwarz Officially Closing In July