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NEW YORK CITY-Affordable prices are driving retailers to try Soho streets like Wooster and Spring. Contemporary furniture retailer Atmosphere Home, Inc. recently committed to a 10-year lease for its first-ever retail store outside of San Francisco. Located at 121 Wooster Street, the 4,500-sf showroom will also have 4,000 sf of finished basement space beneath it. The store is slated to open this June.

Executive VP Robin Abrams and senior director Roger E. Eulau of the Lansco Corp. represented the tenant exclusively in the transaction, while Chris Owles of Sinvin Realty represented the landlord, Jordan Wooster, in the negotiations.

“Traditionally, galleries, home furnishings tenants and boutiques would be attracted to Soho, but as rents escalated over the past few years, those tenants relocated to alternate areas,” notes Abrams. “With rents becoming more reasonable, we have seen an influx of retailers like Atmosphere. The high ceilings and open, clean space made this an ideal location for the retailer’s flagship New York showroom.”

“Soho’s more attractive and affordable for furniture retailers,” says David LaPierre, Managing Director in Insignia/ESG’s Retail Group. He wouldn’t label it a trend, but says it is simply of matter of supply being high, right now. He also believes Soho’s easy access to transportation gives it an advantage over other downtown areas.

Faith Hope Consolo of Garrick-Aug Worldwide agrees that Soho is an excellent location now for retail. “Soho is one my favorite areas of Manhattan. It has a charm and distinction all its own. Just a few years ago, a spill-over of demand in the area caused a push-back effect, whereby tenants moved from Soho to Noho and from Noho to NoLita. This trend has now reversed and retailers are discovering affordable rents on Soho’s side streets. These viable options have retailers going back to basics and back to Soho.”

Consolo, vice chairman, and Joseph Aquino managing director, of Garrick-Aug Worldwide, Ltd. are the exclusive agents for the retail space at 106 Spring St., the Southwest corner of Mercer St. Presently Jacques Carcanagues Gallery, the space consists of ground level, approximately 4,600 sf and Lower Level, approximately 1,500 sf. The frontage is approximately 120 feet.

“106 Spring Street is an elegant, gracious building at the corner of Mercer, with large inviting windows lining the front and side,” says Consolo. “Indoors, the space is expansive. The ceiling soars. There is a feeling of light and air and welcome.”

The leasing team has also been appointed exclusive agent for 70-72 Wooster St. The space consists of ground level, approximately 5,500 sf and basement level, approximately 5,000 sf. The frontage is approximately 70 feet.

“70 Wooster Street is a handsome building with a frontage that is almost entirely large glass windows, explains Consolo. “The ground level interior is expansive and uncluttered, with delicate Corinthian pillars.”

Aquino adds, “The great advantage Wooster has over other streets in Soho, such as Prince, Spring, or Greene, is that it is less pricey for the same Soho adventure and the same customer base.” According to Consolo, while prices can range from $200 to $300 per sf in the area, Wooster is in the $100 range.

“Wooster Street is fast becoming one of the most exciting shopping streets to explore in Soho,” states Consolo. “New stores and galleries seem to be opening almost every day.” She listed some that have opened within the past year. There’s Poggesi, a colorful Italian housewares store, Val Cucina for sleek and super modern kitchens, Marithé & Francois Girbaud, the French designers, Barneys Co-op, Steven Alan, Kenzo, and The Rug Company.Two new galleries just opened across the street from 70 Wooster — Anthem and American Art Glass. Two other stores, Morgane LeFay and Laundry by Shelli Segal, left locations on Spring Street for the retail spaces they now occupy on Wooster.

Consolo notes that she and Aquino are currently exclusively representing six Soho landlords for retail properties.

“At one time, a rapid decline had been predicted for the area. Soho was old news. However, that was then and this is now,”Consolo concludes.

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