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NEW YORK CITY-Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. will set up shop at 565 Fifth Ave. The specialty retailer, which has 152 stores to date, inked a deal for 22,000 sf of retail space at the northeast corner of East 46th Street.

Build-A-Bear Workshop, an interactive retailer that has mostly mall stories where customers create their own customized stuffed animals, is expected to open this flagship location by July 2005. The mall stores generally range from 3,0000 sf to 3,500 sf.

Karen Bellantoni and Howard I. Gilbert, senior managing directors, with Robert K. Futterman & Associates LLC, represented the tenant. Marsha Fuchs and Mark Zorensky of Hycel Properties Co. served as exclusive consultant for Build-A-Bear Workshop. CB Richard Ellis’ Gary Trock, Edward Goldman and Stacey Fabrikant spoke for the building’s ownership. RKF specializes in retail leasing and investment sales.

“They really liked the Fifth Avenue corridor and the demographics,” Bellantoni tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s a very viable neighborhood with offices, Grand Central Terminal commuters and tourists.” The company anticipates heavy tourist trade and expects to benefit from such nearby attractions as the Today Show and the American Girl store.

Build-A-Bear also appreciated the flexibility in the retail space configuration with its high ceilings as well as having a corner presence, she adds. The space will also allow them to get deliveries of 600 pounds of stuffing through a freight entrance. Bellantoni says she senses the company will take a “wait-and-see approach” regarding possible expansion to other sites in the city.

The 325,000-sf 565 Fifth Ave. is also home to L’Oreal which occupies the second floor of the building, operating a Redken Salon Workshop for training. HMV is another retail tenant. Lease rates for the deal were unavailable; office space in the site is advertised in the range of $54 to $58 per sf.

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