Friday, January 5, 2018

Are Kmart's days numbered on Astor Place?


[Image via]

The Real Deal reports that Facebook and Vornado Realty Trust are in talks to expand the social media giant's presence at 770 Broadway, the landmarked building on Astor Place.

Per The Real Deal:

Vornado ... recently paid roughly $46 million to Kmart – whose department store occupies about 30,000 square feet on the ground, mezzanine and lower-level of the building – in what appears to be a buyout of the retailer’s lease, according to city property records. Observers said it’s unlikely that Vornado boss Steve Roth would take such a risk without a replacement tenant lined up, and speculated that Facebook could be looking to make a splash with a high-profile storefront, a la Microsoft’s store on Fifth Avenue.

A Vornado rep declined to comment.

The building — the former Wanamaker’s department store — is also home to J Crew, Nielsen and Oath, the subsidiary of Verizon that serves as the umbrella company for AOL and Yahoo!

This location was not listed among the 64 Kmart stores that the company will close this year, per an announcement yesterday.

Kmart opened — to some WTF groans — on Astor Place in 1996.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never thought I'd say this, but I'd hate to see Kmart go. It's been an affordable place for a lot of the basics. And when my girlfriend lost her apartment to a building fire a year ago we went there the next day to partly replenish her wardrobe, she had nothing but the clothes on her back. "Affordable" is the key word here in a neighborhood where not much is anymore.

East Village Eats said...

Couldn’t agree with you more.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:43, I agree! I've popped in there recently various times to buy a watch, some pyrex dishes, a toaster oven, etc. etc....if it disappeared, I would miss it. Especially with Surprise Surprise gone, it fills a need. (Basics Plus is way overpriced in my opinion.)

Anonymous said...

affordable useful needed human...but not luxurized cashless is facist

Anonymous said...

A high profile Facebook storefront? Selling ...? Do you go there to buy a copy of your personal ad profile data? Designer hoodies for techies? Gotta be a coffee shop plus offices and I'd probably "like" their coffee but they should have put a Facebook branded cafe in the deathstar instead of the drugstore.

LES/East Village Girl said...

I agree with Anonymous up top. This particular Kmart has become super convenient and even a neighborhood staple. I have fond memories of shopping there with my aunt and mom. And now I enjoy shopping there myself. Hope it doesn't close.

Anonymous said...

Can't have a K-Mart if the powers-that-be are busy upscaling the neighborhood, can we? Let's face it, Beluga caviar on 9th St. does NOT comport with a K-Mart nearby.

K-Mart is where I get lots of stuff at affordable prices, and there's no attitude there.

But from what Real Deal says, it seems to me that affordable stuff from K-Mart is only for "losers" (AKA: those of us who are regular people who work for a normal wage).

Our digital/techno "betters" will soon decide what this neighborhood is about, and whom it is for. I'm guessing those of us who've lived here more than 10 years will get the shortest end of the stick.

Luis Lopez said...

Agree totally!

Giovanni said...

Kmart is done, it has a terrible management team that has been liquidating it for the real estate for years. I’m only surprised this didn’t happen sooner. If you want cheap clothes, there’s always a thrift shop, or Old Navy or Uniqlo. As for Facebook, welcome to Zuckerville, where the Zuckers who still use the mindless Facebook platform go for mindless pleasures. Remember when FarmVille was the rage? Facebook is desperate to attract more teens, who are migrating to other social networks.

A lot of people I know stopped using Facebook years ago, and for good reason.There’s too much stalking and harassment on that site. It’s so bad now they have a “Snooze” and “Take a break” button to help you get away from the lunatics and attention seekers who still spend all their time collecting likes by posting nonsense. I know a kid who has 5000 Facebook friends, and all he does is stalk lonely women and lie to them all day to get them to send him gifts and money or to meet him for a hookup. I know another guy who got cat-fished by a “Russian model” who looked like a plastic blowup doll. He sent her thousands of dollars so she could fly here from Moscow so they could be together. At the last minute she mysteriously “died” from carbon monoxide poisoning. He was devastated and in tears, and then her “best friend” stepped in to try to continue the catfishing. To this day the guy doesn't understand that it was all a scam. Everyone on Facebook seems to be lying about something, or at least portraying themselves in way that doesn’t come close to the truth. And that’s why they call it Fakebook.

Carol from East 5th Street said...

OH NO! Shower curtains, cat food, plants, underwear - even bought a few clothes there (Adam Levine has a pretty good designer). It's just so damn convenient. But then it's not about us anymore is it? Make way for more desirable venues for our ever-expanding group of upscale neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Tell you what, that "Kame-Apart" store has somehow managed to outlast many far better retail stores. They are like a cockroach IMO.

Anonymous said...

@Giovanni: Sorry, but to my knowledge Uniqlo is only for the thin & trendy. I don't think they carry larger sizes. And thrift shops are hit-and-miss if you need a certain size.

Unknown said...

Could not agree more. Living around Union Square Kmart "fills in". The only other place to go is Costco/Target on 116th, but that is a haul. Would hate to see it go.

Anonymous said...

True Kmart i not run well, but still, it is the only Big store around.
Great and convenient for many things, there are no other such big stores
you can just run out to.
Devastation.



Anonymous said...

KMart went downhill when they ended the Martha Stewart line, but I still get basic things there like towels and kitchenware. I even bought a toilet seat there recently. It fills a need and, without it, getting basic items for a reasonable price will be a lot more difficult.

cmarrtyy said...

In our retail starved neighborhood, Kmart is important. They sell items under one roof that can't be found elsewhere and for reasonables prices. And what is to replace them? FACEBOOK!

FACEBOOK is the 21st century planattion. They enslave people physically and psychologiclly. Like the Borg, we should resist. At least, resist their presence in our neighborhood. I men, what kind of erson would go into a Facebook store? GodGdG-

Anonymous said...

The K-Mart is twice as big as it needs to be, given the amount of customers and merchandise. i would go there more often but I don't want to spend 10 minutes getting coffee filters or the like.

Anonymous said...

A relative worked for K-Mart management years ago--gotta be 15 by now--but said that the Astor K-mart was always the highest selling, most profitable branch. Maybe it's changed, but I kinda doubt it. I'm not much of a K-mart fan but I'm not anti either. The sad thing is that Sears bought out K-mart and Sears has been run into the ground by a blithering idiot, egotistical megalomaniac moron.

Anonymous said...

very ironic--everyone hates chains but depends on a chain. Two weeks ago I was able to find a Harry Potter book (#3) that was not available anywhere else in neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Interesting mix of views on K-Mart. Aside from the low prices, the advantage to shopping here as opposed to supermarkets and mom and pop stores is that K-Mart on many items has bulk packages. When K-Mart first came to the neighborhood (replacing a traffic court payment center was it?), lots of people saw it as the end of the world (or as the French would say fin de aricots), now suddenly it is a neighborhood necessity / treasre. I like it because of the direct subway entrance. When I come in on the 6th train with a heavy bag, it's nice to slip inside and take the escalator to the street rather than the subway's stairs. You'll be missed K-Mart.

Anonymous said...

would i rather not wait in infuriating 10-person-deep 15-minute horrible-technology check-out lines for some basics at that k-mart? yes.

do i do it anyways? yes.

would i rather have it turned into a facebook showpiece storefront? hell f*ing no!!! wtf.

Anonymous said...

So true. After all the dollar stores closed on 14 Street and most recently on Avenue D, Kmart -- hate to admit -- has been my only alternative. How up can the scale go before it tips?

Anonymous said...

Once again, straight out of left field, is 10:21 am.

Anonymous said...

Remember there is a mini Target coming to 14th and A, will more than fill the void for a lot of EV folks.

Neighbor said...

Are you people going to the same Kmart as me??? Last time I went here EVERYTHING downstairs was overpriced. Beer, food, cleaning suppliers, toys, everything. Or does this fall under the whole shop local thing and comparing it to online shopping doesn't count?

Giovanni said...

@3:18PM. I usually play catcher and can handle both an inside fastball and a nasty slider, so I can easily handle all the BS from trolls like you. I actually met the entire senior management team of Kmart a few years ago, and it was obvious they had no plan to turn the chain around, and were all miserable working for billionaire owner Eddie Lampert, who they said screamed at them in meetings. Needless to say, that entire brainstrust is now gone. It’s amazing the chain has lasted this long. Target will sell a lot of the same items, and their apparel line is better quality than most of the big box stores. The one aspect of Kmart that will be missed was that they carried such a wide variety of items and reminded me of the old F.W. Woolworth’s and M.H. Lamstons stores, which even sold birds, fish and plants. And they had the best selection of Halloween costumes and candy too.

Anonymous said...

Target is opening on Delancy St. Very soon.

Anonymous said...

Miss the k-cafe

Anonymous said...

Oh my...Oh me...What are we going to do about it Toto?

elyse said...

K-mart was scary. The people who worked there were so depressed &/or oppressed. You can tell they hated it. I'm glad it's closing. I know people need jobs but maybe closing this store will give the staff a chance to look for better work. How's that for an optimistic spin?

JQ LLC said...

That K-mart and the one on 34th are major conveniences for shoppers who don't own a vehicle. Certainly prices had to raised to keep up with property taxes.

It looks like the plan here is that K-mart is too low class to be situated against the high end shithead consumerism and exorbitant real estate going on by Astor Place and the East Village, NoHo and Union Square.

K-mart is definitely preferable to the odious pro-censorhip and pro-surveillance state Facebook. To loosely quote Raymond Babbit, "Facebook Sucks"

Anonymous said...

KMart carries items I can’t find elsewhere in the neighborhood anymore- hardware supplies, housewares, etc, Target @ A is fine for some things but not everything and it’s too far for those of us further :south and west.

Anonymous said...

Kmart was so crappy, I couldn't even shop there. BB&B is so much better.

Anonymous said...

@5:13pm & @10:56pm: I agree with everything you said.

@2:21am: Are you serious? I can barely stand going into BBB; I only do it if I absolutely have to, and as seldom as possible. BBB, to me, is like going through down the rabbit hole to a place where suddenly it's important to have a WALL of kitchen towels to choose from, and a WALL of pillows, etc.

aliasfox said...

I agree that K-Mart is good for basics at a much lower price (and bigger selection) than Duane Reade, but this one is so dated and run down that I'm not surprised. The 34th st location looks a lot less decrepit. Also, with two new mini-Targets opening up nearby, they probably saw an out and took Vornado's money as quickly as it was offered. Let's not forget, Sears/Kmart is just about broke.

Giovanni said...

Kmart and Sears is a dumpster fire, and is closing 350 stores this year alone. That’s on top of the 2000 stores they have closed over the past 10 years. They are down to their last 1250 stores now, so give them another 5 years or so and both chains will be gone. Obviously the real estate is worth more then the revenue coming out of the Astor Place location. Not only is the famous Kmart Blue Light Special dead, Kmart IS the Blue Light Special.

@JQLLC. I totally agree, but Kmart never felt like they cared about the customer, the stores were straight out of the old Soviet Union, complete with slow moving lines, bad lighting, and the workers looked miserable. The convenience factor you want had has now shifted to online shopping, something Kmart never figured out, and Walmart is still struggling to figure out, which could lead to their ultimate demise if they donlt do something soon. For comparison, Walmart only sells around 17 million items, Amazon sells over 350 million items. Walmart has never figured out how to catch up in the online space, and now that Amazon’s market cap is double Walmart, they probably never will.

Cardboard recyclers can't keep up with the volume that Amazon produces, and UPS workers are also getting killed. In 10 years this sales volume will have doubled, and 50-100,000 more retail stores will be closed. The plan is for everyone to shop on a smartphone now, and in 2 years a bot will be doing the ordering for you automatically. But maybe we will all be going to the corner Facebook BroDega Box to pick up a selfie stick and a quart of soy milk by then.

Anonymous said...

I'll never forget the awesome checker there who helped me get a stuffed strawberry pillow that didn't have a price tag there a few years ago. Hope her positive attitude landed her her dream job cuz she made my day.:)

Scuba Diva said...

BB&B? A friend of mine's "man" called that store "Beth, Bad and Beyond"—which would be a pretty good name for a porn movie if they haven't already used it.

Anonymous said...

I heard Facebook is only taking the 2nd floor.

Anonymous said...

Just verified by the manager, K Mart "ain't going anywhere." As 8/8 @2:02PM had heard, FB is taking the top floor only. K Mart is doing a redesign and will remerchandise on the 2 lower floors only. Bathrooms will be relocated to the basement level. The bulk of their construction will likely be in the stock rooms as they will be losing a large one on that top floor. Right now, Men's clothes have been shoehorned across and inside of Women's as they start to clear out that floor.