NYC Retail Recovers, Less Pop-Ups To Come

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The recession may be far from over, but retail in NYC is on the rebound. Rents are rising all across the city with regard to commercial spaces, but especially in and on shopping hubs like Soho and Madison Avenue. “Though unemployment in the city remains high — and the office market is showing only minimal improvement — retail leasing began picking up late last year and has been accelerating this year,” says the New York Times. And, thanks to increasing foot traffic by way of tourists, the potential for such improvement to continue looks promising. As for newcomers to the NYC retail game, the Times points to South Korea’s Hollister-esque Who A. U. and Spain’s undies-friendly Desigual. But, perhaps the most interesting facet of this change in the commercial real estate market is the effect it will have on the recession-induced shopping phenomenon: the pop-up shop.

“A year ago, there were probably 20 spaces where you could put a temporary tenant,” real estate broker Stephen Tarter told the New York Times of Soho’s pop-up shop options, adding, “now there are about three.” As commercial spaces continue to fill their floors with stock that will stick around indefinitely, the eagerness to put in boutiques willing to make just a few months commitment are likely to appeal to landlords less and less. So, while the novelty of pop-up shops has appealed to consumers much in the same way that flash sale sites and designer collaborations have (all being available for a limited time only), if rents continue to rise, the temporary retail trend looks increasingly less likely to maintain its appeal.