"What we see doesn't look so bad," said Joanne Podell, executivedirector in Cushman & Wakefield's retail services group andchair of REBNY's retail stores committee. Introducing the reportduring a panel discussion at a REBNY luncheon yesterday, she notedthat despite the turmoil in the capital markets, "retail is holdingup."

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Of the 17 retail corridors examined in the report, Fifth Avenuebetween 49th and 59th streets commands the highest average askingrent of $1,400 per square foot as of the end of Q3. That's up 12%from an average of $1,250 in Q3 2007--and rents along that corridorrange from $1,200 to $2,500 per square foot. Benjamin Fox,president of Winick Realty Group, noted that the higher figuresusually represented smaller spaces.

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Substantial year-over-year increases were seen for the HudsonStreet corridor--up 62.5% from $75 to $120 per square foot--andWest 34th Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues--up 38% from$464 to $643 per square foot. Slight declines were seen for theThird Avenue corridor between 60th and 72nd streets--down 6.3% from$305 to $287-- and Fifth Avenue between 14th and 23rd streets--off8% from $298 to $276. Steeper decreases were recorded for Broadwaysouth of Chambers Street--off 16.6% from $301 to $251 per squarefoot--and Broadway between Houston and Broome streets--off 13.8%from $501 to $432.

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"The report demonstrates mixed results, with some prime shoppingcorridors showing strong increases in asking rents and othersexperiencing declines," says REBNY president Steven Spinola in arelease. "While the retail market has slowed in the last fewmonths, tenants are still leasing space and deals continue to bemade."

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Fred Posniak, SVP of W&M Properties, noted that concessionpackages for credit retail tenants are on the rise, as are cashcontributions from landlords. "We are not seeing a true drop inrents," Posniak, a member of the advisory group, said yesterday."But activity is stagnant." Nonetheless, Posniak said he remainsbullish about 2009.

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Podell's C&W colleague, executive director David A. Green,noted that unlike the stock market, retail leasing lags economicupheavals, partly because deals typically take three to six monthsfrom start to finish. Thus, the impact of current economic trendswon't be seen until after the holidays.

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It's also possible that even then, the effects won't be felt asmuch in Manhattan as elsewhere. Karen Bellantoni, EVP with RobertK. Futterman & Associates, said comp sales are up year overyear in many Manhattan neighborhoods, sometimes by upwards of 20%."That's not being shared nationally,"" Bellantoni said, adding thatNew York City is still seen as a necessity for retailers seekingspace. Added Fox, "deals are continuing to move."

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.