Monday, September 22, 2014

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Website Links Pop-Up Stores With Empty Storefronts

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City real estate owners and commercial entrepreneurs have linked up to find out their "pop-up" potential. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.

In this recession, a large number of empty retail spaces in the city are struggling to secure tenants.

"We are dealing with over 12 percent of empty retail in New York City, lights out," says Christine Norsig, owner of the online retail store ETableTop.com.

Norsig saw opportunity in "pop-up" shops, and teamed up with her husband Michael Eric Anton, a principal at the real estate investment firm Eastern Consolidated, to launch PopUpInsider.com. The website connects retailers in need of temporary space with owners and landlords in need of business.

"About four months ago, there was so much vacant retail in New York City, that this would be a good way of improving cash flow for landlords and attracting new energies to neighborhoods and creating jobs for people," says Anton.

"Traditionally, pop-up stores were known as sort of holiday stores and now we're seeing that it's a great marketing tool and a great way to brand test in certain neighborhoods," says Norsig.

Still in its infancy, the national website currently features 20 "pop-up" potential properties in New York and Florida. Owners and landlords pay $499 to list their property for a year. Retailers can view the listings for free and make direct contact with the owners or brokers.

"These are landlords and brokers that are willing to do temporary space, instead of doing a cold call," says Norsig.

The hope for many property owners and landlords is that short-term leases eventually turn into more long-term commitments.

One property listing with PopUpInsder.com goes one step further and makes a business as a permanent pop-up location. The owners of Open House Gallery signed a 20-year lease for a 2,500-square-feet property in SoHo and made it into a turn key pop-up retail space.

"The business model is we rent it out on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to clients who need a space just for short-term," says Open House gallery manager Whitney Shanks. "There really aren't too many ways to advertise for a space like this, so PopUpInsider is a really good resource for us."

At a time when permanent real estate solutions are hard to come by, pop-up stores may just fill the bill.

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