Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

High-end retailers from abroad flock to Mercer

By Adrianne Pasquarelli | May 28, 2013

Zimmermann, an Australian company that sells luxury swimsuits and women’s wear, is the latest international retailer to take advantage of cheaper rents at the south end of Mercer Street in SoHo.

The southern end of SoHo’s Mercer Street is boasting big bargains. Lured by lower rents, many high-end retailers, often from overseas, are moving into the strip below Broome Street, often relocating from pricier parts of the corridor.

Luxury brand Zimmermann, an Australian company that sells swimsuits and women’s wear, is relocating its sole U.S. store to 55 Mercer St., between Broome and Grand streets, from a block north. The retailer has signed on for 2,400 square feet of ground floor space and a 1,400-square-foot basement, for an asking rent of $175 a square foot. In contrast, rent on Mercer Street, a little north between Broome and Houston streets, where Zimmermann currently has a much smaller 1,500-square-foot store, is almost double that amount—closer to $350 a square foot.

“Tenants understand that retail is still good father south and the rent’s aren’t as high,” said Beth Rosen, a broker at Robert K. Futterman & Associates. “They can essentially be in a larger, more open space with strong co-tenancy.”

Zimmermann follows in the footsteps of Zadig and Voltaire, a French clothier that signed on for 4,500 square feet on the corner of Broome and Mercer streets—its largest space in the country. The brand also has a smaller Mercer Street store between Houston and Prince streets, and it’s unclear if that shop will be shuttered to make way for the larger flagship.

Similarly, Iro, another French fashion brand, recently opened a store, its first in the U.S., on Mercer at Broome Street.

Michael Glanzberg, a broker with Sinvin Real Estate, said the high concentration of luxury brands, such as Balenciaga and Saint Laurent, on Mercer above Prince Street has led to growth further south, as retailers clamor to get a piece of the action for less rent.

“The halo effect of Mercer’s de facto luxury row is creating demand by similarly-situated premium, luxury and aspirational brands,” said Mr. Glanzberg. “Mercer can sometimes offer more value.”