TIMES SQUARE — The Crossroads of the World is about to get even busier.
Twelve new stores are set to open in Times Square in the coming months, helping the area as its overall occupancy lags behind the rest of Midtown.
According to a report from the Times Square Alliance, the twelve new businesses include established chains, like Ben & Jerry's, Pret-A-Manger, and H&M. Each want a piece of the high-traffic, prime retail space the neighborhood is known for.
The area will also soon see several new delis and restaurants, inlcuding Satya Eastern Kitchen on Eighth Avenue, Bucca di Beppo Italian restaurant on Broadway and Cafe Hestia on West 40th Street.
That leaves roughly 26 retail properties available for rent in the area, which stretches from West 40th Street to West 53rd Street, though some currently have occupants.
As well, drag-queen cabaret eatery Lucky Cheng's opened up in a long-vacant location at 240 W. 52nd St., the former home of Touch Nightclub, in October.
In all, the Times Square Alliance sees the numbers as a sign that things are looking up for retail in the neighborhood. "From meetings with brokers and other discussions, they're always working here. People always want to be here," said Gia Storms, a spokeswoman for the organization.
In terms of office space, it seems to be a renter's market at the moment: In October, asking rates for Class A space were down 4.2 percent from August.
Despite the good news of so many new businesses coming soon, Times Square's overall occupancy was 88.3 percent in October, slightly lower than Midtown's overall, which is roughly 91 percent.
The main areas of Times Square have also seen a signficant jump in popularity: The plaza at West 42nd and West 43rd Streets saw 10 percent more pedestrians in October 2012 than it did the year before, with an average of 344,545 visitors on a weekday and 378,647 on a weekend day.