MTA will bring food and retail options to three of the city’s most trafficked subway hubs

Posted On Mon, June 17, 2019 By

Posted On Mon, June 17, 2019 By In Transportation

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As subway newsstands continue to decline, the MTA is reconsidering its retail strategy at three of the cities busiest stations, the Wall Street Journal reports. Riders will soon have more underground dining and shopping options, as the agency seeks to replicate the success of Grand Central Terminal—which teems with a wide range of bars, restaurants, and shops—and the Turnstyle Underground Market leading to Manhattan’s 59th St-Columbus Circle Station. The three stations set for a revamp are 42nd Street-Port Authority, 42nd Street-Times Square, and 47th-50th Streets-Rockefeller Center.

The authority’s chief development officer, Janno Lieber, told the Wall Street Journal that he would like the focus to be on independent, local stores rather than the type of businesses that typically dominate a “run-of-the-mill, midrange, suburban shopping center” so you’ll be more likely to find a third-wave artisanal coffee spot rather than a Starbucks.

The MTA requested master-lease proposals at the first hub, the 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal station, in May, and over the next nine months will seek proposals for 47th-50th Streets-Rockefeller Center and Times Square-42nd Street stations. A total 16,000 square feet of retail space is up for grabs across the three stations, which each service about 100,000 riders every day. In addition to providing a better experience for straphangers, MTA hopes this will lead to increased retail revenue, which currently adds up to about $80 million per year.

The agency began changing leaseholders to month-to-month contracts two years ago at Port Authority Bus Terminal, and many store owners have since moved out. Proposals for the location are due by early September, with the new stores expected to open in early 2021.

A few months ago, 6sqft reported that the MTA will begin converting some of its empty newsstands to high-tech vending machines, in a bid to fill widespread vacancies. These aren’t the first attempts to revamp the agency’s retail offerings. In 2015, the MTA signed a 10-year contract with a start-up to operate newsstands in Union Square, Columbus Circle, and Brookfield Place that sell snacks and millennial-friendly goods, like bike helmets and fresh-squeezed juice.

[Via Wall Street Journal]

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