Times Square: Livable Streets Mecca, Retail Sensation

The new Times Square: May 25, 2009. Photo: Aaron Naparstek

Two years after Mayor Bloomberg and NYC DOT remade Times Square, the city’s premiere public space is one of the world’s leading shopping destinations.

Crain’s reports that annual rankings from international real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield place Times Square among the ten most desirable retail locations on the planet, topped in New York only by Fifth Avenue and ahead of East 57th Street and Madison Ave.

This is the first time that the Times Square bowtie, between West 42nd Street and West 47th Street, has made the list. It did so with rents averaging $1,350 a square foot. There is no corresponding annual data from the previous year because Cushman only recently started measuring that specific location. However, as of September 2010, rents there averaged $1,000 a square foot.

“Times Square is the center of the world and it has become another place where retailers want to express their identity,” said [Cushman executive vice president Gene] Spiegelman. He noted that the area is especially popular with moderately priced retailers that would appeal to a mass audience, especially a younger clientele.

This would be big news even during an economic boom. While other factors are no doubt at work, at a time when success stories are few and far between only the most intransigent critic would deny a plausible link between skyrocketing commercial rents and the transformation of Times Square from a car-choked mess into, as Aaron Naparstek wrote in May 2009, “a space filled with people and human activity.”

We look forward to copious city press coverage of this unprecedented development.

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