Luxury Retail Along Manhattan’s Madison Avenue Shifts from Rebounding to Thriving
By Joe Aquino, president, JAACRES
When Barneys New York department store closed in 2020, we saw a dramatic relocation of luxury retail on Madison Avenue to the south, apparently with a common goal of establishing better proximity to East 57th Street. Prior to that event, many luxury brands enjoyed a shop within a shop at Barneys, plus another store on the corridor, usually further uptown.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this stretch of Madison Avenue was so tight for space that we saw East 59th Street, a major side street, securing tenants like Dior, Bathing Ape and Balmain.
During the pandemic’s lockdown phases, retail vacancy rose dramatically, even in the most desirable areas. Now, post-pandemic, we see spaces along Madison Avenue getting filled by new and established luxury retailers ready to make a statement. Here are some of the key transactions that have either been recently completed or are in progress:
- Givenchy just left its cozy quarters at 749 Madison Ave. at the southeast corner of 65th Street to take the southeast corner at 625 Madison Ave. Versace will open in Givenchy’s place this fall.
- Wolford, a maker of luxury seamless tights, took the Lalique store at 607 Madison Ave. between 57th and 58th streets.
- The French luxury fashion house Chloé, owned by Richemont, just inked a deal at 715 Madison Ave. between 63rd and 64th streets. The tenant will face merchants such as Graff, Etro and Beretta.
- Kiton is moving from its longtime townhouse location at 4 East 54th St. and relocating to 692 Madison Ave. between 62nd and 63rd. Kiton’s Neapolitan-styled men’s and women’s clothing will now have complementary neighbors: Hermès and Jimmy Choo.
- Ben Soleimani just leased the former Tourneau space at 601 Madison Ave. between 57th and 58th streets. Soleimani will display its highly stylized rugs with their notable weaves and textures in a prominent contemporary setting.
- Carl F. Bucherer, the Swiss watchmaker founded in 1888, has taken over all the Tourneau spaces in Manhattan and now offers a full-service bar at its flagship store at 590 Madison Ave. Bucherer is an authorized Rolex dealer and can procure virtually any luxury watch brand.
- John Knits moved from the Rolex Building at 665 Fifth Ave. to 655 Madison Ave. between 60th and 61st streets. St. John Knits has long been a favorite of professional women, combining the finest fabrics, most vibrant colors and tasteful fashion sense in finely tailored garments.
- Hermès, originally a saddlemaker, has become a leader of French fashion. The operation is moving its flagship New York location from one side of Madison Avenue to the other (from 691 to 700, at the southeast corner of 63rd Street).
- Berluti, originally a bootmaker, now dresses the most fashionable man from head to toe. Berluti recently moved from 677 Madison Ave. into the Fuller Brush Building at 595 Madison Ave., with storefronts facing 57th Street.
- Christofle, which specializes in high-end silverware, and Fendi, which is known for fabulous furs, ready-to-wear apparel and accessories, have taken locations in the same building — also with storefronts facing 57th Street with Fendi securing the corner space. Fendi left 598 Madison Ave., a store it had occupied for more than 15 years, and moved across the street. Christofle traveled a little farther, coming downtown from 846 Madison Ave.
- Joining the excitement in this building is tie-maker Stefano Ricci, recently moved from a 15-year stay on Park Avenue. Now the Ricci storefront will stand adjacent to The Four Seasons Hotel.
- Vacheron Constantin — one of the oldest Swiss watch brands that was founded in 1755 — recently moved from 729 to 575 Madison Ave., with a storefront facing 57th Street, adjacent to another watchmaker, Breitling. Breitling has taken another store in the Meatpacking District, at 875 Washington St., occupying close to 4,000 square feet.
- Chopard has moved from 709 Madison Ave., heading for the Crown Building at 730 Fifth Ave., facing Tiffany’s flagship store at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street. In its place, Richemont has secured the corner for Lange & Söhne, and Jaegar-LeCoultre will double its present size at this property and face the new Hermes flagship store when that boutique opens.
- Richemont’s Panerai has secured the former Roberto Cavalli space at 711 Madison at the northwest corner of 63rd Street. The tenant’s store will be facing the new Hermes store, diagonally.
- French Fashion designer Isabel Marant, who won the Award de la Mode, secured the former Berluti store at 675 Madison Ave.
- Seamen Schepps moved from a corner of Park Avenue and 58th Street to 824 Madison Ave. at the southwest corner of 69th Street, bringing its 100-year-old tradition of diamonds and colored stones to the corridor.
- ADEAM bought 770 Madison Ave. for $31 million in August 2018; the neighborhood awaits the store’s grand opening.
- Manolo Blahnik recently left its longtime home on 31 West 54th St., making way for Sarah Jessica Parker’s ready-to-wear collection, and opened a women’s and a separate men’s store at 717 Madison Ave. between 63rd and 64th streets.
- Brunello Cucinelli has expanded within the same building. The company originally leased Bally Shoes and then took over the Georg Jensen store, too. Cucinelli customers are known for their loyalty; thus, Cucinelli now has a store with close to 80 feet of frontage on the avenue.
- Graff has done very well in its flagship store at 710 Madison Ave., on the northwest corner of 63rd Street, and has secured control of the building next door (712 Madison Avenue) as well. Buccellati and DeBeers are Graff’s direct neighbors.
- Ice Blue, a division of Mirabella, a lady’s boutique that features European designs, has leased a second store at 1339 Madison Ave. between 93rd and 94th streets. Its main store stands one block south. In the same building, Collette will be bringing its fabulous luxury consignment furniture store (which furnishes many mansions in the Hamptons) to affluent Upper Madison Avenue residences in Carnegie Hill.
- Nardos has taken 807 Madison Ave. between 68th and 69th streets, where designer Nardos Imam will display her fabulous bridal and evening couture line along with her ready-to-wear collection.
- Aston Martin will display its prestigious cars in a showroom on the ground floor of 450 Park Ave. on the southwest corner of 57th Street, in a space previously occupied by Phillips Auction and a few steps north of the Ferrari showroom. Bank United has taken the upstairs portion of 450 Park Avenue. Phillips Auction moved into an adjacent building.
- P. Journe, previously located at 723 Madison Ave., is moving to a townhouse at 53 Mercer St. in the vibrant heart of SoHo.
- Mango (founded in Barcelona, Spain) has taken the Ralph Lauren Polo store at 711 Fifth Ave. at the northeast corner of 55th Street. The tenant will occupy more than 23,000 square feet on three levels. The “fast fashion” merchant will join neighbors Zara, Uniqlo and Hollister in a quest to beautify men, women and kids.
Some notable building sales in 2021-2022 are as follows, courtesy of CoStar Grooup:
- 829 Madison: $17.5 million – January 2022
- 824 Madison: $12.5 million – February 2021
- 712 Madison: 43 million – January 2021
- 818 Madison: $17 million – December 2021
JAACRES is a boutique commercial real estate brokerage firm. President Joseph Aquino has more than 35 years of experience in the luxury retail marketplace.