At the beginning of the month, The Real Deal reported that Facebook and Vornado Realty Trust were in talks to expand the social media giant's presence at 770 Broadway, the landmarked building on Astor Place.
Those talks looked as if they might lead to the end of Kmart, which opened a three-level store here in 1996.
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.
However, as some EVG commenters pointed out, the store was in the process of a renovation — unlikely to be going through this before a closure.
Now comes official word from store management that Kmart is only giving up the second floor (didn't get confirmation whether Facebook would be expanding into that area) ... The store has condensed its wares to the main floor and lower level...
[Photo by Steven]
EVG reader East Villager shared the following after a recent shopping excursion here:
I went to Kmart to get pajamas for my mother, and saw some construction, new flooring, etc. The escalator to go up was closed and the elevator was not working (as usual).
Everything from the second floor — men's, shoes, etc., was on the first floor and in the basement. So I initially thought, oh, so they are remodeling the top floor first. I asked, and found out that — no! The second floor is now rented out to someone else. There will be only the basement and first floor.
And to boot, less merchandise, even though they said things were just condensed. So condensed, they no longer exist — like pajamas!
That whole lingerie/home wear section — all gone. The help they offered was to get it online. I don't want to get it online, order it, wait for it to come in, wait on line to pick it up, just to find out I may or may not like it or have it fit.
Other people I spoke with were pleased that Kmart was still a (mostly) affordable option for some basics.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Are Kmart's days numbered on Astor Place? (40 comments)