Times Square: Crossroads of Experiential Retail?

The Wall Street Journal: “Times Square’s flashy retail scene is known for its hordes of tourists drawn to Broadway shows, mass-market shopping options and kitsch. But asking rents have been coming down this year as more shopping moves online. That has prompted landlords to seek out more ‘experiential retail,’ such as food and entertainment venues, and more interactive elements in stores.”

“At 20 Times Square, a hotel and retail project at Seventh Avenue and West 47th Street developed by Witkoff and its partners, customers will be greeted by a 40,000-square-foot interactive football exhibit and theater from a venture comprising the National Football League, the NFL Players Association and Cirque du Soleil. Kushner, meanwhile, has signed leases at its retail condominium at a former New York Times building on West 43rd Street to bring an 11,970-square-foot food hall curated by chef Todd English; a 60,000-square-foot interactive exhibit from National Geographic called ENCOUNTER: Ocean Odyssey; and a 49,000-square-foot miniature world called Gulliver’s Gate.”

“Operators of these experiential businesses tend to generate more sales than conventional retailers do … Landlords are seeking a specific mix of tenants to cultivate their properties as destinations not just for tourists. Growing numbers of office workers and residents populating areas near Times Square are seeking out food, cosmetics and affordable fashion.”

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