One of the staples at Times Square will soon be leaving, as the franchise will be not renewing its lease at the over 100,000-square-foot location, according to the Commercial Observer.
Since 2000, the Toys R Us store located at 1514 Broadway between West 44th and 45th streets has been an iconic fixture in the bright light district at Times Square. But now, after failing to agree to terms on a lease, the store is set to close in February of 2016, and finding a new tenant will be a difficult task.
Brad Mendelson of Cushman & Wakefield, the man in charge of marketing the location for landlord Charles Moss, had some honest remarks in reference to finding a new tenant.
“They did not exercise the option to renew. Here’s the long and the short of it. They have 21,000 square feet [on the ground floor]. There really is not a tenant that can rent that. The market has just escalated so.”
Although it may be surprising to many, Mendelson did foreshadow the stores closing two years ago when he claimed that the franchise would likely not renew their lease come 2016. He also stated that the most likely outcome would be breaking up the store for many different tenants to lease, in contrast to one, because of the astronomical asking price.
“There’s no law that says it can’t be broken up. In times of change nobody is taking space of that size. There’s not one tenant that can afford that.”
As it currently stands, the asking prices for the different parts of the building will likely prevent one single tenant from leasing. The ground floor of the 150,000 square-foot venue will charge $2,500 per square foot. The lower level will carry a price of $150 per foot while the second floor will cost $350 per foot.
With prices like that, future tenants might need to start petitions to lower prices, much like parents did to have the franchise not sell toys from the Breaking Bad television show.
Toy R Us will not be only ones leaving, as leases for other retailers in the establishment such as Bond 45, Foot Locker, Swatches, and Starbucks, will also expire. However, Toys R Us were the only ones who had the option for renewal.
A spokeswoman for the Toys R Us store dispelled the current speculation as to where the store may be moving to.
“Toys R Us has been a proud resident of Times Square since our international flagship store opened there more than 10 years ago. The lease for our store in Times Square expires in 2016 and, as previously noted, we have been reviewing our lease renewal options. We have not signed a lease agreement for a new location and any rumors regarding this ongoing process are just that.”
A broker claims that the store is moving to Vornado Realty Trust’s retail space, which is located at the Marriot Marquis hotel, located at 1535 Broadway between West 45th and 46th streets. Such a move would represent a minor move, as the Toys R Us would be just two blocks from its original location. Also, the aforementioned location boasts the biggest LED screen in North America.
The location will likely see flocks of shoppers make their way to the store in the coming months. With February, 2016 being the closing date, many people will look to ride the indoor Ferris Wheel, walk through the 4,000 square foot Barbie dollhouse, and see the life-sized T-Rex let out a yell at the top of his lungs one more time.
[Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]