The popular department stores Burlington and Marshall’s are coming to The Hub in Melrose at the old Alexander’s building on Third Avenue at 153rd Street.
These will be the second stores in the immediate area for both chains as they are currently located less than a mile away over at The Bronx Terminal Market.
The building, which dates back to 1928 when the now defunct Alexander’s Department stores was founded at that very location and lasted until 1992 when they went bankrupt and eventually became a Conway’s until they too folded.
In September 2013 the building sold to its current owner for slightly above $16 million and since last year the building has been going major gut renovations. In fact, very little is left of the original art deco department store as everything from interior to exterior walls were demolished.
Gone are the beautiful terrazzo floors that graced the department store that served The Bronx for almost 7 decades.
Marshall’s will be occupying the cellar level of the building while Burlington will take up the 2nd and 3rd floors leaving the ground floor still available for lease but no leads so far have been reported as to who will take up the space.
The Hub, the Bronx’s oldest and busiest shopping district which sees over 200,000 pedestrians pass by daily, has seen a lot of changes in the past 5 years as both landlords and retail chains have increased confidence in the area thus leading to higher rents and displacement of long time businesses on the avenue that stayed put during the burning years.
Five years ago was when Planet Fitness, the national affordable chain of 24 hour gyms opened up on Third Avenue just a block south from the old Alexander’s.
This marked the first foray of a national chain at The Hub outside of cell phone stores like AT&T, Verizon, & T-Mobile.
Shortly thereafter, Blink Fitness opened up 5 blocks away followed by Children’s Place, Carter’s, the opening of two luxury boutique hotels, The Opera House and Umbrella hotels, a Crunch Fitness, and a Boston Market.
Last year we documented how these national chains have driven up rents and forced longtime businesses out to the point that there were over 20 vacant storefronts throughout the shopping corridor of Third Avenue and 149th Street.
Now landlords are beginning to activate the upper floors of these commercial properties which have been dormant and vacant for over 40 years.
Blink Fitness is opening it’s third Melrose location at the old Sach’s building on 150th and Third Avenue and will be occupying the 2nd and 3rd floors of that building.
The building where Children’s Place is located, 2918 Third Avenue, has been completely renovated from the exterior to the interior with new mechanicals hoping to lease the upper floors as more offices are relocating to the area.
Bronx Coworking Space located on the 3rd floor of 2825 Third Avenue (where our offices are located), the area’s first office sharing space which opened in May, is already 75% occupied as local businesses have taken up the spaces and Bronx FlexSpace, another coworking space in the area at 452 E 149th Street is also starting to gain tenants as well.
With gentrification already creeping in something must be done to protect existing mom and pop shops which are the lifeblood of commercial corridors like The Hub. Large big box stores and national chains are already here and will continue to come but there is still room for everyone if landlords can agree to somehow let the smaller businesses thrive.
In the meantime, at the very least, Burlington and Marshall’s offers deep discounts that are affordable to the existing population of the neighborhood and not out of reach for the average consumer in the area.
The stores are slated to open early 2018.