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NEW YORK CITY-AT&T Mobility will be rolling out its flagship store as part of the repositioned retail component of the Empire State Building. The telecommunications giant has signed a 10-year lease for approximately 3,000 square feet, GlobeSt.com has learned. The store, which will sell a variety of telecommunications products and services, is scheduled to open in early 2009.

“It is AT&T’s version of the Apple Store–a ‘touch’ type of retail,” Fred Posniak, SVP of W&H Properties, the building’s owner, tells GlobeSt.com. Ironically, Apple itself recently canceled plans to build a retail location a few blocks from the iconic office tower at 350 Fifth Ave. AT&T’s Empire State Building lease follows the June opening of an 8,000-square-foot Starbucks there.

As part of a $500-million capital improvements program, the 1,454-foot tower’s ground-floor retail has been reconfigured. “Our objective was to reorganize the retail offerings at the building,” says leasing agent Eric Gelber, SVP of CB Richard Ellis, in a release. “Building amenities, including food and business services, are now located on 33rd Street, while we are reserving the 34th Street side of the building for major international retailers. The AT&T and Starbucks deals are fully in line with this objective.” Posniak adds that the purpose of the reorganization was “to attract better quality food vendors to 33rd Street.”

There is one retail unit of 2,744 square feet available on 34th Street, and two units totaling 4,740 square feet available on 33rd Street, a W&H source tells GlobeSt.com. “W&H is only seeking national/international retailers on 34th Street and building services on 33rd Street,” Posniak says. He adds that the latter includes “places where building tenants can go before, during and after work–e.g., beauty, food and entertainment.”

Steven Baker of Winick Realty represented AT&T in the lease negotiations. CBRE’s Andrew Goldberg and Matthew Chmielecki represented the landlord, along with Gelber.

Along with repurposing the retail mix, other renovations either planned or completed include a restoration of the Empire State Building’s Art Deco lobby and ceiling. A new messenger center, modernization of the building’s systems, new restrooms, air-conditioned public corridors and multi-layered security systems are all components of the renovations. All 65 marble elevator cabs have been refurbished and the building’s 6,500 windows have been replaced, affording the building an EnergyStar designation.

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