Toys R Us getting priced out of Times Square
The Toys R Us flagship store in Times Square is choosing not to renew its lease after over a decade in the spot, because the rent is too damn high. It’s like a real-life version of an old Onion joke. Not even a huge corporation can survive hyper-gentrification. Ah, the infallible logic of the free market!
The 110,000-square foot location, which can fit an indoor Ferris wheel and an animatronic T. Rex, is currently going for $2,500 per square foot — double what it went for in 2000, when Toys R Us first took over the space. This was after Disney had successfully turned Times Square from a porny dystopia into a touristy dystopia.
Toys R Us will leave after its lease expires in February 2016. After that, it’s anyone’s guess what company might be able to afford such a space. As Brad Mendelson, the broker marketing the space for its landlord Charles Moss, explained to Commercial Observer, “There really is not a tenant that can rent that. The market has just escalated so.”
This hints at a very bleak future for New York, which is already losing all of its small businesses to massive, soulless chains. What happens when all of the chains get priced out? Will it turn into a ghost town of empty storefronts, as the few remaining wealthy people order all of their products from distant Amazon warehouses, to be delivered by drones to their sky-palaces?