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NEW YORK CITY-As more tourists visit the city and companies continue to lease-up available space throughout Manhattan, Cushman & Wakefield is keeping its eye on retail as the market to watch.Specifically, according to Ken Krasnow, executive managing director and head of C&W’s New York offices, the firm is following plans for the creation of a major Lower Manhattan retail corridor from river to river. “Retail will be the next big story in the recovery of Lower Manhattan,” he says.And other areas of the city are also seeing a surge in retail transactions with strong retail leasing activity continuing in the third quarter of this year, he adds. Notably, banks are continuing to take corner locations, sparking bidding wars in some cases, and international retailers are competing for prime space. The retail market is also seeing non-traditional retailers continuing to lease space as part of their branding strategy, such as Apple Computers deal at 767 Fifth Ave, according to Krasnow. “Available retail space is decreasing and asking rents are increasing all over Manhattan,” he adds. “And we continue to see strong leasing in SoHo.”

Pointing to SoHo’s continued popularity, Krasnow says availability rates dropped to 9.6% in the third quarter of 2005 from 10.5% in the second quarter. New retail spots in the neighborhood include Ben Sherman at 96 Spring St., Forever 21 at 568 Broadway and the Body Shop at 155 Spring St.

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