Back in August, the New York real-estate firms Related and Vornado bought the Virgin Megastore chain–not because they wanted to roll around in free CDs, but because the chain’s two NYC stores are paying way below-market rent. Which just happens to be going to those two companies. Well, it looks like Related, which owns the building occupied by the chain’s Union Square outpost, is ready for its payday! Billboard.biz is reporting that the New York company Winick Realty has been shopping the two-floor, 58,000-square-foot Union Square outpost around, and according to a corroborating report in the New York Sun, the asking rent is much, much higher than the estimated $100-a-square-foot that Virgin is paying now:
Retailers are expected to pay as much as $750 to $1,000 a square foot for 27,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space at 52 E. 41st [sic! see below] St., the home of Virgin Records. Virgin will be vacating the space in the mixed-use residential tower, which also houses a UA Regal Cinema, on February 1, 2009.
OK, first of all, a note for people who (like me) hadn’t had your coffee yet and thought that the 41st St. address meant the Times Square store was on the chopping block too: The Sun means 52 E. 14th St*, which is the address of the Union Square outpost. So all of you who (also like me) had “Christmas 2007″ as that store’s last, sale-filled gasp in your office pool are going to lose out, but at least the $85 Gwen Stefani hoodies and cute Japanese sweaters that the store’s putting on its main floor in a last-ditch effort to make up for the general lack of demand for recorded music in general will be at least half-price for next year’s holiday season, right?
* Funnily enough, though, there is a music-related tie-in at the address he quoted: 52 E. 41st St. is actually the address for the Dylan Hotel, which some of you may remember as the home of Britney Spears’ foray into the restaurant world. Maybe he really liked their portobello burger?