When famed department store Hammacher Schlemmer decided to close its retail space in February after selling boutique trinkets from 145 East 57th Street for nearly a century, the building’s owners worried about finding a venerable retailer to replace it.
The pandemic had left much of the block between Lexington and Third avenues vacant — even as a cluster of high-end lighting, furniture, and interior design showrooms have made nearby East 59th Street a design destination — but New York’s unquenchable desire for Midcentury Modern Danish design will help fill that void.
Carl Hansen & Søn, a 115-year-old Scandinavian furniture company, inked a 10-year lease for 9,063 square feet in the Midtown East building this month to open its second location in the city, owner ABS Partners Real Estate and the company’s broker confirmed.
The Danish company, whose dining room chairs can cost more than $1,000, will fork over $85 to $90 per square foot, or roughly $850,000 per year, for the ground floor, lower level and mezzanine space that ABS had combined into a single showroom.
“We did a lot of work in a very short period of time,” John Brod, a partner with ABS Partners Real Estate who negotiated the deal, said. “We’re delivering them an incredible space. Everything works for the brand, and the building is incredibly excited to have them.”
Brod, along with Mark Tergesen and Benjamin Waller negotiated the deal for the landlord while Atlantic Retail’s Evan Clements and Amanda Keller represented the tenant.
The area’s close proximity to Manhattan’s design district on East 59th Street, as well as the Hammacher Schlemer building’s history, made the space appealing for the Danes, Clements said.
“We were drawn to this pocket because of the design center and all the surrounding furniture brands,” Clements said. “We also thought it was fitting that a company that was family run would be replacing another family-run company that had been in the building for 96 years.”
Carl Hansen has been in expansion mode to chase the U.S. direct-to-consumer market over the past five years. It’s keeping its original New York location at 150 Wooster Street in SoHo, too, but has already begun moving into the East 57th Street storefront. A grand opening for its new flagship is scheduled in early September.
Brod believes the company’s luxuriously crafted, Minimalist-inspired designs will appeal to Midtown East’s wealthy clientele.
“This is not an Ikea neighborhood, and this is not a trendy brand,” Brod said. “This is a well-established, well-known, Scandinavian-accepted product, and anyone in design knows that brand.”
As for Hammacher Schlemmer, customers can still order cordless tire inflators, outdoor atomic clocks, and 15,000-station Internet radios from its online store. But Brod said nothing can fully replace the in-person shopping experience.
“It wasn’t Macy’s where you could buy anything. It was an unusual upscale place that sold peculiar offbeat things that you would never think existed,” Brod said. “It’s the kind of place where you go in there and spend hours looking around for odd tchotchkes.”