WESTBURY, NY-The Fortunoff family, which last July bought backthe intellectual property of the department store chain bearing itsname, has also made a move with real property. It has hired CBRichard Ellis to spearhead an office leasing campaign forapproximately 114,000 square feet of space at the former Fortunoffflagship store at 1300 Old Country Rd. here. A CBRE spokesman tellsGlobeSt.com the remainder of the 220,000-square-foot property iscurrently planned to be set aside for retail.

|

CBRE’s Vincent LaManna and Richard Freel will spearhead theleasing campaign on behalf of the property’s ownership, theFortunoff family. The property is adjacent to the Source Mall, andthe access to shopping and restaurants is one of the locationalaspects the CBRE team will be highlighting. They’ll also focus onits convenience to both highways and mass transit as well as thesignage and branding opportunities that 1300 Old Country offers,according to a release.

|

The conversion to office space is intended to accommodate avariety of large block users including educational, corporate backoffice, medical and government agency tenants. It offers ceilingheights of up to 18 feet, and the CBRE spokesman says the ownershipis offering a work allowance for tenant improvements.

|

Marketing the Old Country Road space for mixed use comes about ayear after the Fortunoff and Mayrock families bought back theFortunoff brand name and related intellectual property, includingweb domain names, for a reported $1.8 million at an auction held atthe Manhattan offices of law firm Sidley Austin. It’s another stepback along a road that seemingly had ended when the chainliquidated all 20 of its retail stores throughout the tristateregion and Pennsylvania.

|

Those 2009 liquidation sales followed the February ’09 Chapter11 filing that occurred a year after Fortunoff was bought out of aprevious bankruptcy filing by NRDC Equity Partners, which owns Lord& Taylor department stores. Earlier in the decade, theFortunoff family had sold a 75% interest in the company, founded in1922 by Max and Clara Fortunoff, to private equity firms TrimaranCapital Partners and the Kier Group.

|

At the time, the Fortunoffs assumed that the sale would be acatalyst for long-term growth for the chain. “We could neverimagine the Fortunoff brand name going into free fall when it hasserved as a retail icon for as long as anyone can remember,” DavidFortunoff said in a release announcing the buyback of the brandname last July. “It has been a stunning series of events and wedecided to redeem the Fortunoff brand.”

|

This past September, Fortunoff Brands, the holding company thatnow controls the intellectual property, announced a licensingagreement with Furniture Concepts, a newly formed entity under thecontrol of two former Fortunoff executives. Separately, Texas-basedretailer Chair King bought a controlling interest in FurnitureConcepts, with Chair King president David Barish assuming a similarrole at Furniture Concepts. Seven Fortunoff Backyard Storesoperated by Furniture Concepts were opened on Long Island and inNew Jersey this past February.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

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.