By Serach Nissim
Midtown Manhattan continues to struggle with vacant retail space due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Trump Organization has not been immune to the decline in luxury shoppers, and empty storefronts. The company’s trophy building near Fifth Avenue will also face the challenges of needing to fill gaps in retail space.
As reported by Crain’s NY, Trump’s building at 6 E. 57th St. will be losing retail tenant Tiffany & Co, which occupied space there while undergoing renovations at its nearby flagship boutique. The Jewelry chain hopes to move back to its own store, with renovations complete, by mid-2022. The companies holding the lease at the Trump building, Wharton Properties and SL Green Realty, will not extend it when it expires in the beginning of 2022.
That would leave the Trump Organization with 74,000-square-feet of unleased space, a big gap to fill. The space was formerly known as NikeTown, named after the previous tenant. Filling the five stories of space, will likely be a challenge, especially since the pandemic ravaged demand for retail space. With tourists nonexistent and shoppers still wary of going out and about, Manhattan store vacancies have been soaring, with even well-known icons breaking their leases to vacate long-time storefronts.
While there is still time before Tiffany & Co leaves the Trump building, the overall market does not seem rosy for landlords, even after the pandemic subsides. Furthermore, the Trump brand will have its own unique impediments, as the former President of the U.S. Donald Trump, has lost a good deal of popularity, particularly in New York City, which may leave potential tenants unwilling to be associated with the Trump name. “Leasing any retail or office space at this point in New York is difficult,” said Ruth Colp-Haber, president of a brokerage named Wharton Property Advisors, but not connected with the lease holder which bears a similar name. The 57th Street building is “a Triple-A location. The building itself, the spaces are really nice, it’s a lot of glass and steel. It’s extremely nice spaces. But for some users there’s definitely a stigma,” she said.
Mr. Trump won only 12 percent of the Manhattan vote in 2020. The City of NY has said it is canceling management contracts with the Trump Organization, because of the Capital riot, which Trump was accused of inciting. As per Crain’s, some Trump-branded properties have already stripped themselves of his name or are considering doing so.
Eric Trump, Executive Vice President of the organization, declined to comment, as did spokespeople for Wharton Properties and SL Green.