Tenant-improvement allowances haven't been typical in the Manhattan retail market. But now the concessions, which can pay for anything from lighting and displays to a complete overhaul, are becoming a key component in some new leases, particularly for large, flagship stores in high-profile areas, such as Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, according to Steve Soutendijk, an executive director at brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. 

"We're seeing tenant-improvement and concession packages that retail landlords never, ever contemplated before," he said.


The details of leases in Manhattan are often closely guarded secrets, making it difficult to quantify the incentives retailers are receiving. Landlords have a lot of ways to cut a deal without lowering asking rents, such as paying the construction contractor, offering an extended period of free rent or simply writing a check for the tenant to use at their discretion.

... Tepid demand for luxury goods and a stronger U.S. dollar that's crimped spending by tourists have particularly hurt Fifth Avenue, where the space-availability rate was at a record 15.9 percent in fourth quarter, up from 10.1 percent a year earlier, Cushman data show. The average rent on the stretch from 49th to 60th streets reached a record $3,213 a square foot in the third quarter before dropping in the last three months of the year to $2,985.

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