FIFTH AVENUE FAREWELL:
FAO Schwarz Officially Closing In July
May 18, 2015
We have been hearing about FAO Schwarz's departure from its longtime home in the GM Building on Fifth Avenue for months, years even, but now we have a more definitive date —and it's practically upon us. Bloomberg Business is reporting that the renowned toy store will be shuttering its iconic store sometime in July, well in advance of the end of its lease in 2017 leaving the company without a physical store as it searches for a new flagship. Toys "R" Us Inc, which owns FAO Schwarz, promises that a new store should be open by late 2016, which leaves a long stretch for the company to be without an outlet. Recent rumors have had the company eyeing a large Apple Store-like space in the Paramount Building at 1633 Broadway between 50th and 51st Streets that is best known as the former home of space-age theme restaurant Mars 2112. The building itself is configured similarly to the GM Building with a front plaza and situated just above tourist friendly Times Square which would make the proposed FAO Schwarz store an appropriate replacement for the immense Toys "R" Us store that is also set to depart its home a few blocks downtown.
So far, the only thing that is confirmed is the Fifth Avenue store's impending closure, though a replacement site should be determined so. As for the expansive space in the GM building to be vacated, most speculation has it being subdivided to create a few separate retail spaces, although a big store with deep pockets could come along and take the whole thing. With Apple in front, and a temporary Cartier store on the other side that may become permanent, it will become one of the highest profile unclaimed retail sites in midtown.
FAO Schwarz’s Manhattan Store to Close in July as Rents Rise (BloombergBusiness)