East 86th Street: A Transformation Continues, But Space Available
(Above L) Future H&M at The Lucida (Above R) Space available at The Brompton
(Above L) Clearing out for Chase, (Above Cent) Circuit City Space (R) Former Party Store
(Above) M. Rohr's - Great Coffee!
The can be little doubt that times are tough in the retail trade, but somehow, East 86th Street seems to continue its transformation. The retail climate on 86th is changing not so much by virtue of store closings, but new space coming on line and possible consolidation. Yes, there have been some closings: the large space that was occupied by Circuit City between Second and Third, and the three shops on the southwest corner of Second Avenue (Cold Stone Creamery, Gothic Cabinet, and Wrap and Roll). Circuit City went bankrupt but had very little frontage. The three stores on Second have been cleared out for what I can now confirm will house a Chase Bank. It is moving from the north side of the Street. I would presume that Chase is moving because its current location is slated to be part of the 86th Street Station for the Second Avenue subway (unconfirmed).
While 86th Street seems to be hanging on pretty well, there is plenty of space coming on line. There is approximately 25,000 square feet of space becoming available inside The Brompton's street level at 86th and Third. There is renovated space on the south side of 86th between Third and Lex which used to house The Party Store and Patterson Silks. Finally, it has been rumored that both Barnes and Noble stores, on 86th (2nd and 3rd) and Lexington (bet. 86th and 87th), are being consolidated into a mammoth B&N at the Lucida. That leaves plenty of space.
Speaking of The Lucida, that is where the good news begins. In addition to the Barnes & Noble, H+M is slated to open this spring, and a Sephora is also rumored to be in the mix in the condo. Also new to the area is Rohr's Coffee, just east of 2nd Ave. Rohr's, which has been around for 130 years or so, relocated from 85th Street after being displaced by The Georgica condominium.
While a glut of space in a recession may not be desirable, it would be fair to say that things are looking up on 86th Street. With three new luxury condos opening soon (Lucida and Brompton in the next couple of months) retailers can retain some optimism. 86th Street has been transforming for years, and while it may take a couple more to complete, the trend leads us to believe that eventually it will be seen as an upscale shopping area. It sure beats the seediness of the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Now we just need a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, and all would be good!