FAO Schwartz Considers Leaving Fifth
Legendary toy shop FAO Schwarz may leave its longtime Fifth Avenue home at the base of the General Motors Building. Its parent company Toys “R” Us hired CBRE to market about 60,000 square feet at the base of the GM Building for sublease. The store has been a tourist magnet since the retailer moved in from across the street in 1986.
FAO Schwarz no longer needs so much space and may be looking to take advantage of the area’s rising retail rents, which have risen almost 22 percent from a year ago. “Yes, it’s beautiful, it’s a landmark,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail group at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, “but Toys ‘R’ Us already has that big presence in Times Square, and they can have a smaller venue. Now that the building has been through three ownerships and changed the dynamic, it’s time for them to move on. They don’t need to be there.
Kathleen Waugh, a Toys “R” Us spokeswoman, said the company’s lease expires in 2017. “Over the next four years, we will evaluate our lease renewal options. Part of evaluating our lease renewal options could include looking for potential tenants to sublease the space.”
In 2011, the toy retailer chose to stay in the GM Building beyond the 2012 expiration of its lease. FAO Schwarz has had a presence in New York for about 150 years.