Marc Jacobs in talks to open new flagship store at 645 Fifth Ave as Midtown continues comeback

Fashion designer Marc Jacobs is negotiating with the owners of 645 Fifth Ave. to open a new flagship there, sources told Realty Check.

The luxury brand recently closed its Madison Avenue store at 655 Madison Ave., where a sign says only that it would soon relocate to Fifth Avenue.

However, no lease has been signed with the landlord of 645 Fifth’s retail space, a partnership that includes Oxford Property Group. and several Middle Eastern interests. “The deal could still fall apart,” an insider said.

AX Armani Exchange currently occupies the Olympic Tower corner space, where its lease is in its final year.

A Marc Jacobs move to the corner would mark the latest milestone in the Midtown avenue’s ongoing evolution and recovery from the ravages of the pandemic.

Among other changes, crystals house Swarovski is opening a new, 14,000 square-foot flagship in part of the long-empty former Gap space at 680 Fifth Ave. in November.

Jeweler Harry Winston will eventually take over one of the former Henri Bendel townhouses at 712 Fifth Ave. as part of expanding from its longtime home at 718 Fifth (it’s temporarily at the St. Regis Hotel until renovations to 718 Fifth are completed.)

Marc Jacobs is negotiating with the owners of 645 Fifth Ave to open a flagship store.
Marc Jacobs is negotiating with the owners of 645 Fifth Ave to open a flagship store.

Meanwhile, JLL vice-chairman Richard B. Hodos is marketing the vacant, 20,014 square-foot retail space at 681 Fifth Ave. It was most recently occupied by Tommy Hilfiger, which moved out a few years ago although its parent company was still paying rent on its lease through last May, Hodos said.

The six, nearly column-free floors boast a third-floor outdoor terrace and a grand spiral staircase. “Our No. 1 choice [for a tenant] would be a luxury name,” Hodos said. But it isn’t the only option. “It could also be a global brand that wants more exposure.”

The availability at 681 comes at a time of extraordinary investment in Fifth Avenue between East 48th and East 60th streets.

Marc Jacobs recently closed its Madison Avenue store.
Marc Jacobs recently closed its Madison Avenue store.

Among other commitments, Hodos cited Rolex’s $250 million capital cost for its new flagship office and retail tower that’s under construction; Tiffany & Co.’s $250 million redesign and enlargement of its flagship; Saks Fifth Avenue’s $250 million top-to-bottom redesign; Cartier’s $50 million storefront revitalization; and Tishman Speyer’s $185 million to convert part of 10 Rockefeller Plaza into a Little Nell hotel.

“There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that most people don’t realize,” Hodos said. “But it’s a bright future. Fifth Avenue will metamorphose once again.”

Cushman & Wakefield vice-chairman Joanne Podell agreed, “Fifth Avenue is one of the most important retail streets in the world and it will come back, with luxury from Apple to Rock Center and affordable below that.”

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