Commercial Real Estate & Advisory

Sporty is Now Bigger than Posh

By Lois Weiss | May 23, 2006

Between the BricksFrom surfboards to sneakers, SoHo is continuing to evolve
SoHo is struggling with its image as furniture makers continue to create a stronghold around Moss, while sole-filled sneaker and sportswear companies jump into other spots.

Galleries and luxury goods have been left in the lurch as tourists and the youth culture take over the streets.
Joel Isaacs, principal of Isaacs & Company, says SoHo is evolving in a “nice way” as opposed to becoming another Madison Ave.
“It’s a great place to find contemporary and trendy items,” Isaacs said.

Since Bloomingdale’s Broadway outpost opened, SoHo has continued to push south and reinvent the streets between Spring and Grand.
“We are still seeing a lot of tenants not wanting to go south of Broome – but they will,” Laura Pomerantz pricipal of PBS Realty Advisors predicted.

“Luxury is definitely not going there.”

In the past couple of years, however, Christopher Owles of Sinvin Realty has observed more and more sporting companies locking up sites in SoHo.

Among these are Oakley, which took over the former Met Museum space at 113 Prince St.; Burton at 106 Spring at the corner of Mercer St. and BodyUp Fitness at 155 Spring St.

Other sports-oriented stores include Broadway Transit at Mercer, Active Warehouse at 514 Broadway and the humongous 22,000 foot Michael K next door at 512 Broadway.
Patagonia, already ensconsed on Wooster, has been shopping the nearby streets for a surf shop, sources said.

Kids are fueling a surfing resurgence in the waters around Rockaway Beach, Long Island and New Jersey. And SoHo is responding to that demand.

Quicksilver Boardriders Club opened at 519 Broadway while its division DC Shoes took over Quicksilver’s first ride at 109 Spring.
Girls who love surf and snow are pushing Roxy to sashay around the area trying to find a sweet spot.

“Sports apparel and sports footwear is really proliferating. There is a tremendous amount of traffic on Broadway and it’s younger than uptown, and trendier than uptown, so it makes a lot of sense [to location in SoHo],” said Isaacs.

“There’s also a bit of a shoe thing going on,” observed Karen Bellatoni, Senior Vice President of Robert K. Futterman & Associates. “The consumer, young and old, is back to wearing sneakers.”

Foot Locker at 451 Broadway spun off its women’s line with a separate store at 523 Broadway for its Lady Foot Locker.

Between Adidas on the north side of Houston and Broadway, and Adidas Originals store at 136 Wooster near Prince St., there are 30,000 square feet filled with sneakers.

Puma has also created a fashion forward niche at 521 Broadway.

Bape at 91 Greene has the Bathing Ape line which is known for its $200 plus sneakers. They generate block-long lines when new styles arrive.

Timberland also just inked a deal for the former Zabari shop, sources said.

“It shows there is a younger customer, and their fashion is sporting goods,” observed Owles.

Furniture companies continue to jockey for sites around Moss on Greene St.

“People want to go to Moss,” declared Susan Penzner of Susan Penzner Real Estate. “The store is so beautiful and the way they merchandise and chose goods is unique. It’s like going to the museum of Modern Art.”

Those shops are primarily locating north of Spring and south of Broome with not much in the middle. Nevertheless it is a significant cluster, Isaacs said.

Isaacs represented design heavyweight B&B Italia in its deal to come to 138 Greene St. near Prince where they hope to open in September in the former location of another furniture line, Troy, which a spokesperson said is taking phone orders until they can get up and running again in a new location.

“Furniture is becoming an impulse purchase in the same way designer clothes have evolved,” said Penzner. “That’s why they want visibility.”

Cite has just relocated from Wooster to Greene St. where the asking rent was a very cheap $90 a foot, sources said, because it is technically a showroom.

Alessi has just announced it has snagged 130 Greene St. Z Gallerie has opened on Broadway in 10,000 square feet, while Todd Oldham’s La-z-boy line opened at 75 Wooster.

“I don’t think any luxury is leaving,” insisted Isaacs. “SoHo is becoming a very commercially viable area for consumerism, and for the contemporary realm.”