34th Street

Best Foot Forward

July 6, 2010
Steve Cuozzo, NY Post

A gleaming, four-story glass retail showcase is coming to 34th Street west of Macy's -- and bringing a giant DSW shoe emporium with it. It will make a splendid addition to the block between Seventh and Eighth avenues, although much smaller than what might have been.

The new, 60,000 square-foot retail "box" will soon rise at 213-223 W. 34th St. once demolition of old structures is completed.

A partnership including Alex Adjmi, Jenel Management's Jack Dushey and Aurora Capital's Bobby Cayre has owned the midblock site, with 142 feet of precious sidewalk frontage across from the Long Island Railroad entrance, since 1986. It extends through to West 35th Street -- large enough to support a 42-story, 320,000-square-foot tower, which the partners once planned to build.

BIG STEP: This is an artist's rendering of a new 60,000-square-foot glass retail building with a large new DSW store at 213-223 W. 34th St.

They spent "untold time and money" vacating SRO tenants and small stores that occupied an old Holiday Inn.

But the parcel's northern portion happens to lie in the path of the Port Authority's massive new train-tunnel project beneath 34th Street. Like some other landlords nearby, Adjmi and Co. recently learned they'll have to sell that part of their land to the bistate agency.

That didn't stop them from working on the southern portion, however, so they decided to exploit West 34th Street's growing appeal to national chains and improved sidewalk ambience. And they've succeeded in leasing most of the new retail box before it even comes out of the ground.

DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse), which has three other stores in the city, is taking 35,000 square feet on four levels for its Midtown flagship. That's in addition to a 12,000-square-foot Duane Reade lease. Katz and Associates' Brian Katz repped DSW and Jeff Winick repped Duane Reade.

Aurora's Jared Epstein, who handles development, marketing and leasing, said the remaining 10,500 square feet, with 80 feet of frontage, can be divided into two or three stores. He said the asking rent is $350 per foot for the ground floor.

He wouldn't comment further on economics, but a source said the leases already signed have an aggregate value of well over $200 million. Adjmi called the successful pre-leasing "a validation of the strength of the 34th Street corridor."