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MTA Seeking Company to Manage Columbus Circle Retail

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In a move to more effectively manage its real estate portfolio, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is accepting proposals from real estate companies seeking to master lease the 13-store retail concourse at the recently renovated 59 St-Columbus Circle subway complex. Firms interested in bidding for the space must submit proposals by September 14th at 3 p.m.</p>
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The firm being sought would be responsible for selecting and managing subtenants for 13 stores on the mezzanine level totaling 11,500 square feet, and would bear the associated risks. The firm would also market the space to the public as a retail destination, coordinate and maintain general oversight of deliveries and waste disposal, and maintain circulation areas that are adjacent to the stores.</p>
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This is the first time that the MTA is seeking to enter into an arrangement with a private sector firm that will be responsible for subletting individual retail spaces and for maintaining adjoining public areas within the transit system. But it is not expected to be the last. The MTA plans to bring this model to the Fulton Center, which will open in Lower Manhattan in June 2014. (More limited types of public-private retail management arrangements have been in place for years at Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station, and 47-50 Sts-Rockefeller Center. At Grand Central for example, the MTA enters into individual tenant leases and directly operates and maintains all public spaces, while it has hired a private sector firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, to manage retail operations, including marketing, event production and lease administration.)</p>
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"It is imperative that the MTA find new ways to reduce expenses and make the most out of its real estate portfolio," said MTA Chairman Joseph J. Lhota. "Thinking creatively about our real estate holdings and the way we engage with the private sector has led us to pursue a partnership that we expect will increase MTA revenue and allow us to focus our resources on those parts of the station where they are most needed. We think this public-private partnership will prove to be a useful model that will help us improve the management of retail spaces at larger stations going forward."</p>
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"This is a fantastic opportunity for a firm that has the ability to manage a high profile, very active public space," said Jeffrey Rosen, MTA Director of Real Estate. "We are seeking a firm that has what it takes to successfully promote the Columbus Circle station complex as a destination for area workers, residents, and tourists and more fully integrate it into the surrounding commercial district."</p>
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The Columbus Circle subway complex is the seventh busiest in New York City. On an average weekday, nearly 68,000 customers swipe into the complex and tens of thousands more use the station for exits. In 2011, 21.3 million customers swiped into the complex in total. The lower level is served by the [a][b][c][d] trains, and the upper level is served by the [1] train 24 hours a day and the [2] train during overnight hours. The retail space is in the mezzanine level, along the concourse leading toward 57th and 58th Streets.</p>