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Madison Avenue rent plunges with Manhattan retail taking a hit

[NEW YORK] Retail rents on Madison Avenue are plunging as the pandemic hammers Manhattan's most popular shopping districts.

The high-end shopping shopping corridor, home to luxury brands and swanky boutiques, saw a 17 per cent decline in rent in the third quarter. At an average of US$779 a square foot, the price is down 52 per cent from the peak over the past five years, according to the brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

Rents across Manhattan's most popular retail districts are plummeting as the pandemic drives store closures and pushes shoppers to the convenience of e-commerce. The absence of tourists and office workers, who are staying home as virus cases rise, is adding to the problem.

Herald Square had an 18 per cent rent drop in the third quarter, while the decline was 5 per cent in nearby Times Square.

There's also more space available as stores shutter and companies go bankrupt. Madison Avenue recorded the highest availability rate in the third quarter at 35 per cent, the brokerage firm said. In Times Square, 29 per cent of space was available.

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Of the 11 shopping areas tracked by Cushman, one saw rent rise: Lower Manhattan was up 4.5 per cent. That area also performed well last quarter.


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