Now is the Perfect Time to Go Big on Retail, One New York Developer Says

Now is the Perfect Time to Go Big on Retail, One New York Developer Says

GHC Development is going ahead with a $65 million plan to turn the American Stock Exchange building into a retail space and hotel

New York real-estate developer Allan Fried plans to turn the American Stock Exchange building into an expansive retail space and hotel.

By: Keiko Morris

Jan. 21, 2018

Allan Fried has been waiting for years for the right moment to pitch his vision for an expansive retail space and hotel at the landmark American Stock Exchange building in New York’s financial district.

That time, he says, is now.

Retail is in the midst of a historic reckoning as e-commerce takes a bigger chunk of consumer spending and national chains close stores at rates usually reserved for recessions, yet Fried, a managing partner at GHC Development LLC, insists lower Manhattan is fertile ground—and his building is unique.

He points to a reinvigorated area, transformed in recent years by a redeveloped World Trade Center and an influx of new residents and commercial spaces, more diverse companies, destination restaurants and tourists.

On the heels of that success, GHC and its partner, real-estate investment firm Clarion Partners, are now moving ahead with a $65 million plan to refurbish and ready the space for new tenants.

In 2015, Clarion Partners took a 70% stake in the building, buying out Mr. Fried’s previous partner in a deal that valued the building at $150 million, Mr. Fried said.

Lower Manhattan’s retail vacancy rate in the fourth quarter jumped to 15.3%, a 6.2-percentage-point increase from the same quarter a year earlier, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

“We already have been approached by tenants to take it for fashion week,” Mr. Fried said. “There have been a myriad of users who didn’t have the opportunity to utilize our space until now. Now they’re reaching out to us.”

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