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Realtor Wants to Lure Big Box Store to Chelsea

By Mathew Katz | April 18, 2012 9:51am
A rendering of 320 Eighth Avenue, which is being aimed at a big-box retailer.
A rendering of 320 Eighth Avenue, which is being aimed at a big-box retailer.
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Winick Realty Group

CHELSEA — Chelsea is known for art galleries, brunch spots, chic boutiques, and soon, possibly a Walmart or Best Buy.

Artimus Development has tapped the Winick Realty Group to market a giant new space at 320 Eighth Ave. — on the corner of West 26th Street — as a perfect space for a big box store.

“Big box retailers, supermarkets, banks, and large restaurants would all perform well here,” said Alex Hill, Associate Director at Winick.

“This is a rare opportunity for a retailer to establish a major presence in Manhattan’s bustling Eighth Avenue corridor.”

The new 12-story building offers the potential tenant a whopping 18,000 square feet of ground floor space, a loading dock for trucks, 200 feet of wraparound frontage, and an 18,000 square foot basement. Over 200 apartments will sit above the new space, which is likely to be ready for a tenant by the fourth quarter of 2012.

Winick would not divulge an asking price for the space.

"The ideal tenant will target the neighborhood’s growing residential and student population coming from the Fashion Institute of Technology to the north and the School of Visual Arts to the south," said Hill.

Winick is no stranger to corporate stores — the retail space broker successfully brought Starbucks, Duane Reade, and Conway stores to neighborhoods across the city.

Marketing the space as perfect for a big box tenant is a new approach in Chelsea, where neighbors have resisted encroachment from large-scale national chains for decades.

In the recent scrum over an expansion to Chelsea Market, one of the biggest concerns among opponents was the fear that big-box retailers could move into the market's ground-floor space.

The announcement that the landlord was seeking a big box tenants drew criticism from some in the neighborhood.

"While we do not feel big box stores are appropriate for the Chelsea area, we also see Winick's listing for 320 Eighth Ave. as an opportunity to stress how we think the city needs to do much more to encourage and support small, independent and affordable retailers in our neighborhood," said Lesley Doyel of Save Chelsea, a neighborhood preservation group.

Hill pointed out that there are several similar tenants in the neighborhood, including a massive Bed Bath & Beyond on Sixth Avenue.

But others looked forward to a bigger shopping experience.

Matt Schwarz, 34, lives a few blocks from the housewares superstore and said he shops there often.

"There's so few of these big box places in Manhattan, I like that we get to have a few and go get the suburban experience once it a while," he said.

"Why not add one more?"