Boards swallow their pride and go pop up

By Teri Karush Rogers | October 1, 2009 - 12:33PM

(Photo by James Yeargin)

Our hearts sank when we walked out of our UWS co-op today and stumbled over New Jersey on our doorstep.

Where the elegant art-deco poster gallery used to hold court on the corner of W. 73rd and Columbus now looms a diorama-style ad to visit New Jersey this fall….replete with bales of hay, corn stalks, wagon wheels, pumpkins, and in-your-face signage.

Though we’re pretty sure that the apartments above the NJ “store” are rentals, we wondered whether boards are more open to pop-up retail tenants and whether it’s a good idea.

So putting our emotions aside—along with the as yet unanswered question, ‘Is this better or worse than a bank?’—we sought some context.

“In the old days before the recession, they all said, ‘Oh, don’t be ridiculous. What does that do for the property?’” says Faith Hope Consolo, chairman of the retail leasing and sales division at Prudential Douglas Elliman. “Now they call us and say, ‘It doesn’t look like we have anyone longterm for the next three months. What can you get us?'”

Pop-up rents typically run 50 percent lower than a long-term lease, says Consolo. Earlier this year, New Jersey reportedly paid $20,000 a month to rent a downtown storefront to advertise the state as a summertime getaway destination.

Taking less in the short term can pay off down the road: Pop-ups can whet the appetites of longterm suitors.

“Pop-and-shops show that the space is desirable—and people want what is sought after by others,” says Consolo.

Other than the obviously controversial, like a sex shop, boards these days are open to just about anything—even fancy food purveyors, according to Consolo.

“It’s really a different mindset today,” observes Consolo. Much like staging one’s apartment for sale, “they’re saying ‘What do I have to do differently to make my property attractive? It’s all about getting the attention and some income, and making the space come alive.”


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