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THE SEARCH GOES ON: When it comes to Nordstrom making a deal for its first department store in Manhattan, retail and real estate experts said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” In other words, the Seattle-based retailer has been close to securing locations in the past, only to have the deal fall through when Nordstrom changes its mind.
A location that has reportedly captured the retailer’s fancy is the site of a future skyscraper on 157 West 57th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue to be built by developer Gary Barnett. Nordstrom would stretch across the north side of West 57th, with the main entrance to be built at 1780 Broadway. The retailer declined to comment and sources said no deal has been signed.
The New York Observer in December 2011 wrote Nordstrom was contemplating one of two leases, one at Hudson Yards being developed by Related Cos. on the West Side, as first reported by WWD, and the another at the base of 157 West 57th Street being developed by Extell Development Co. “I heard about it two months ago, but haven’t heard anything since,” said a real estate source. The deal could be attractive to Nordstrom if Barnett’s Extell builds upscale condominiums. “[Barnett] could give up the retail rent and get it back from the sale of condos,” the source said. “That could make it more affordable for Nordstrom. Also, Nordstrom is used to getting a check for the build-out of their facility. While that wouldn’t happen in an existing building, a new development could help finance that capital.”
According to other real estate sources, construction on the Barnett location is proceeding fast and should be complete sometime in 2013.
Nordstrom has been eager to open a store in Manhattan since at least 1999, when it was reportedly in talks to take over the former Alexander’s site across the street from Bloomingdale’s flagship. Described as a prime retail location, between East 58th and 59th Streets and Lexington and Third Avenues, it is perhaps the best Manhattan has to offer a retailer now, considering the heavy pedestrian traffic drawn by Bloomingdale’s and the retail corridor of 57th Street, plus the access to subways. Sources said Nordstrom had been in and out of negotiations with the owner of the site, Vornado Realty Trust.