Why MAC Might Pay Record-Breaking Rent for Elizabeth Arden’s Former Spa Space

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Would MAC cosmetics really pay a rumored $3,000 per square foot to rent a 1,400-square-foot space at 691 Fifth Avenue? Recent press reports have speculated that the firm is about to sign on the dotted line for that record-breaking rent. If so, why? As with most things real estate, think location, location, location.

"[Fifth Avenue] is one of the most iconic streets in the world," says Jeff Roseman, executive vice-president at Newmark Knight Frank. He says it's the most expensive retail thoroughfare in the city, and recent deals have been somewhere north of $2,000 per square foot. Then again, rents have been rising in general for prime retail spots in Manhattan; he says they're now commanding more than they did before the real estate slide in the late-aughts. "The bar keeps getting higher."

Faith Hope Consolo, who heads Prudential Douglas Elliman’s retail group, says the deal would make sense for MAC since it no longer has the ground-floor presence it once had on the venerable — and pedestrian-heavy! — thoroughfare. MAC used to live in a ground-floor section of Henri Bendel's with a door that led out to the storied avenue, but they lost it last year. "The day they open their doors, it will be like they never left," says Consolo. "This is a great replacement." A call to Vornado Realty Trust, which is handling the lease for the space, was not returned by press time.