FAO Schwarz To Close Flagship Fifth Avenue Store Ahead of Rising Rent
Image: Gary Burke via flickr.
Beloved toy store FAO Schwarz has announced that it will shutter its midtown Manhattan store on July 15, citing rising rents, reports Bloomberg. Founded in 1862, the store, which is owned by toy chain Toys “R” Us, Inc., is the oldest toy store in the United States. The brand has long been known for its high-end dolls and life-sized stuffed animals and as the stuff of many a tiny tot’s fantasies.
The store, which has occupied the ground floor of the General Motors Building across from the Plaza Hotel for nearly three decades, was further immortalized in the 1988 movie “Big,” in a scene where Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia dance on a giant piano; the piano has been a store fixture and a favorite of visitors of all ages.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.
The space occupied by the store is owned by Boston Properties Inc., who purchased the property in 2008. Toys “R” Us has reportedly said it is seeking a new location for the shop, which could open as soon as 2016, and a line of toys with the FAO Schwarz brand will continue to be sold in the chain’s stores. A below-ground space at 1633 Broadway just north of Times Square has been mentioned as a possibility for the store’s relocation.
Douglas Elliman agent Faith Hope Consolo, who represented the store’s previous location, is quoted as saying, “Entertainment-oriented family stores have been migrating from Fifth Avenue toward Times Square for several years,” and that the move is “…a sign of the times…It’s very exciting for Fifth Avenue. We’re going to get a new retailer, so we can all spend more money.”