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"The Crown Building is widely recognized as one of the most valuable and sought-after corners, not only in New York City, but the world," General Growth Properties Inc. CEO Sandeep Mathrani said in a recent earnings conference call. That's why the real estate investment trust just purchased half the building at 730 Fifth Avenue with plans to add more retail space to the 70,000 square feet that already exists, Bloomberg Business reports.
"Our growth strategy here is simple," Mathrani continued. "Re-lease some of the existing retail space at today's rents, which significantly exceed in-place rents, and convert non-retail space to retail to maximize value." That means rents will eventually go up for the spaces currently occupied by high-end brands Bulgari, Mikimoto, and Piaget, while office space on the lower floors will become selling space—but whether that'll be for new shops or will be incorporated into the current retail spaces is unclear.
Likely, it'll be the latter—a January 4th report from the company emphasized their preference for larger flagships: "Flagship stores are important to retailers because they build brand awareness and are a way to showcase their entire assortment of merchandise," the section read.
Buying up high-profile retail spaces is somewhat of a strategy for General Growth right now. Last year, they purchased part of 685 Fifth Avenue (where Diesel is on the way out) and got a stake at 530 Fifth Avenue, a long-ignored stretch of the famed shopping street that many brands are now considering.