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Financial District Retail Rents Rise as Fifth Avenue's and Soho's Drop

Chicago Tribune/Getty

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The Real Estate Board of New York released its Fall 2015 Retail Report, breaking down the rise and fall of average Manhattan asking rents in the city's 17 biggest retail corridors. While the overall ground floor rents have somewhat fallen since the last report, there remain some significant increases that often coincided with a flurry of retail movement over the past few months.

The biggest jump happened in the newly booming Financial District, which is swiftly hurdling its way towards being Manhattan's next go-to shopping destination. Jumping from $234 per square foot to $308 in the past six months alone, landlords are clearly anticipating a further increase in business after the first round of stores finish setting up shop. In addition to the Westfield Mall opening up at the World Trade Center next year (we hope), stores like Bloomingdale'sZara& Other StoriesAnthropologie, and COS have or are rumored to be planning to plant roots in the downtown district sometime soon.

The Flatiron District sits comfortably in second place, with rents on Broadway and Fifth Avenue between 14th through 23rd streets increasing by 17% since the spring. This area has also experienced its fair share of reshuffling in the past year. While nearby openings such as Lululemon and Athleta's fitness studio created some buzz, the continued vacancy of C. Wonder's old location could be another indication that the district is becoming less affordable. That being said, Bandier is slated to take up residence just a few steps away, meaning hope is not lost for retailers who are willing to shell out the cash.

The more surprising changes have taken place in both Soho and on Fifth Avenue. Despite securing a spot as the most expensive in the world, as evidenced by Bulgari's newest lease, Fifth Avenue asking rents (between 49th and 59th Streets) have dropped 8% since the spring. Soho plummeted a somewhat alarming 15% (which is perhaps good news for the MoMa Design Store), falling just short of the 16% decreases seen in Herald Square and on Columbus Avenue.

If anything, this report shows that retail priorities are shifting, as well as the limited supply and therefore adjusted demand in the city's previous shopping hot-spots.