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Toys 'R' Us May Give Up Its Massive Times Square Flagship

Crain's
Crain's

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The long-rumored departure of O.G. tourist trap and indoor Ferris wheel operator Toys "R" Us Times Square may happen by the end of the year: Commercial Observer reports that the retailer will not renew the lease on their 110,000-square-foot flagship store (Toys "R" Us hasn't confirmed or denied the claim, telling Racked, "The lease for our store in Times Square expires in 2016 and, as previously noted, we have been reviewing our lease renewal options."). Why? Because the space is so big that no one—not even a behemoth like Toys "R" Us—can afford it.

"Here's the long and the short of it," one of the retail marketers told the publication. "They have 21,000 square feet [on the ground floor]. There really is not a tenant that can rent that. The market has just escalated so."

Once Toys "R" Us vacates 1514 Broadway next February, it's unclear what will happen to the address that contains 150,000 square feet of retail, but it's likely that it'll be parceled into a few smaller spaces. "We could never get that from any one tenant," the marketer added.

Before parents start panicking, this isn't the end of a Toys "R" Us in Times Square, or at least near it: There's a chance that it could move a few blocks north to 1535 Broadway.

The move isn't the only recent change in New York City's giant toy store landscape: In December, it was announced that FAO Schwarz—which is owned by Toys "R" Us Inc.— would be opening in New Jersey mega-mall American Dream Meadowlands. The company is adamant that the Jersey store won't replace the Midtown stalwart—"this is independent from evaluating lease renewal options for our FAO Schwarz store in New York City," a rep told us. But as of right now, Toys R Us Inc. has no definite plans for hanging onto the 5th Avenue outpost, whose lease expires in 2017.