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As one iconic toy store exits Times Square, another all but confirms its arrival. Multiple sources have told Commercial Observer that FAO Schwarz is planning to open as previously rumored at 1633 Broadway in time for the 2016 holiday season (much like Empire Outlets). The address is technically a bit north of Times Square proper, situated between 50th and 51st streets, but we'll let it slide if it means keeping at least piece of the brand on this side of the Hudson River.
With its planned July 15th departure, that leaves New York City FAO-less for less than a year and a half. The store will be cutting its space by a third, from about 60,000 square feet at 767 Fifth Avenue—a parcel so big that'll eventually be divided up— to 40,000 square feet, but slashing its annual rent from $15.6 million down to just $4 million.
And in a funny twist, CO reports that "shoppers will enter the new store via a 733-square-foot Apple-inspired glass cube in a public plaza on West 51st Street," which leads to two more shopping floors underground. Meanwhile, Apple will temporarily move out from under its glass cube on Fifth Avenue and into the FAO Schwarz space next door for renovations.
Multiple parties supposedly involved in this lease declined to comment for CO, including Toys 'R' Us, FAO's parent company. "Our current FAO Schwarz Fifth Avenue location will close on July 15th as we continue to look for a potential new site in Midtown Manhattan," a spokeswoman wrote in an email. "As with our Times Square store, we have not signed a lease agreement for a new location."
That Times Square they're referring is, of course, the Ferris-Wheeled Toys 'R' Us, which is making way for Gap and Old Navy when its lease expires next year.