Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a national retailer providing quality outdoor gear and clothing, today announced plans to open its first New York City location in the fall of 2011. The Manhattan store will be located in the historic Puck Building at the corner of East Houston and Lafayette in SoHo, and will bring 100 new jobs to the local community.
The company has leased approximately 14,000 square feet of prime ground floor space and 25,000 square feet of below grade space at the landmarked property owned by Kushner Companies.
The 39,000 square-foot Manhattan store will serve customers on three floors and offer the top brands of gear and apparel for a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel. The store will also house bike services on two levels - a quick repair concierge and a full-service bike shop.
“REI is delighted to find such a wonderful location to serve our thousands of Manhattan customers who have been shopping with us for years,”said Sally Jewell, REI’s president and CEO. “Our new store in the Puck Building will provide a resource to serve New Yorkers, visitors and community groups eager to enjoy the great outdoors from bike paths and urban greenways to wild and scenic destinations around the world.”
Offering a breadth of quality products and unmatched product expertise, REI brings its award-winning REI-branded gear and apparel, as well as the top brands in outdoor products and clothing, to shoppers eager for adventure and recreation. For more than 70 years, REI has placed an emphasis on making it easy for people to get outside, live healthier lifestyles and take care of natural spaces.
REI is more than a retail store - it also serves as a resource for information on how to enjoy the outdoors and where to go. In addition to classes held in the Manhattan store, REI’s Outdoor School will offer locals a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities ranging from daylong instruction to weekend getaways.
With 2009 sales of $1.46 billion, REI currently operates 112 retail stores nationwide and two online stores – http://www.rei.com and http://www.REI-OUTLET.com – and manufactures its own award-winning REI brand and Novara bike products. The new store will join additional Tri-State region locations in East Hanover, N.J., and Norwalk, Conn., which opens next month. Additional Tri-State store locations are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are thrilled to welcome such a respected, cutting edge retailer to the Puck Building, which has long been an iconic and defining property in the SoHo marketplace,” stated Kushner Companies principal Jared Kushner. “REI is a strong company with a tremendous following that offers consumers a truly distinctive shopping experience. That made them an ideal fit for our property.”
Built in 1885 and expanded eight years later, the nine-story Puck Building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1983 and received designation by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission the same year. Among its current tenants are the New York University School of Urban Design and the architecture firm Swanke Hayden Connell.
REI has a strong, successful background in working with historical structures. Its current Denver flagship location opened in 2000 in the 1901 Denver Tramway building. In addition, REI’s downtown Boston store opened in 2003 in the former Sears Roebuck and Company Mail Order Store, built in 1929 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. In 2005, REI’s Bend, Ore. store opened in a former sawmill powerhouse dating back to 1916 in the historic Old Mill District.
Susan Kurland of CB Richard Ellis represented REI in the long-term leasing transaction while Lori Shabtai of Winick Realty, together with Ira Bloom of Kushner Companies, represented the building’s owner. While no deal terms were disclosed, Mr. Bloom noted that 5,000 square feet of ground floor retail space at the Puck Building remain available. In addition, the top three floors of office space at the property will also be available for lease starting in April 2011.
Stewardship at REI
As part of its commitment to the outdoors, REI partners with local outdoor and conservation organizations to support volunteerism in taking care of the outdoor spaces. In 2009 alone, volunteers teamed with REI to donate more than 107,000 hours to help restore trails, plant trees, and clean parks and streams.
Over the last two years, REI and The REI Foundation have provided grants totaling $124,000 to local non-profit organizations. Recipients include the New York Restoration Project, New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, Norwalk River Watershed Association, Inc., Saddler’s Woods Conservation Associatio, Peak Potential and Recycle-A-Bicycle. The new store gives REI the opportunity to expand these efforts in the Manhattan community with additional local partners.
REI is the nation’s largest consumer cooperative and while anyone may shop at REI, members pay a one-time $20 fee and receive a share in the company’s profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. Earlier this year, more than $80 million was distributed to more than 3.9 million active members based on the co-op’s 2009 sales. REI members also receive discounts on gear rentals, in addition to trips and classes offered through REI Adventures and REI Outdoor School.
REI has thousands of active members who reside in Manhattan and travel across the world. Each of REI’s 112 stores nationwide was shopped by a Manhattan member in 2009.
A Great Place to Work
For 13 consecutive years, REI has been recognized by FORTUNE magazine as one of “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” Hiring for the new store will occur approximately three months prior to the opening, where REI will recruit employees who share a passion for the outdoors and providing a quality customer experience. More information about employment opportunities will be available at www.rei.com/jobs.
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.
About Kushner Companies
A diversified private real estate organization involved in the ownership, development, redevelopment, and management of office, residential, retail, industrial, and hotel properties throughout the county, Kushner Company’s extensive real estate portfolio includes, in addition to the Puck Building, 666 Fifth Avenue as well as the million square foot headquarters building of AT&T’s Midwest Region in Chicago.