logo

As traditional retail stores close and vacancies mount, landlords across the country appear newly receptive to leases as short as a week, eschewing the typical 10-year time frame, even in locations that once shunned limited stays.

The upswing in pop-up stores, as the short-term placements are called, is playing out in all sorts of ways, and in all sorts of places — including dark malls, former grocery stores and shuttered art galleries. For retailers, the spaces can offer lower rents and far less commitment. For the landlords, the reason is just as clear: A short-term tenant is better than no tenant at all.

In the past, short-term tenants focused on holidays like Halloween. But today, the products go far beyond monster masks to skin serums, designer handbags and crystal champagne flutes, as brands see pop-ups as an opportunity for quick public exposure or as a possible stepping-stone to something bigger.

In high-rent districts, such as SoHo in New York City, pop-up deals are sometimes just a fraction of what long-term tenant might pay. They generally pay all their rent up front and agree to leave with a few days’ notice if a longer-term tenant is signed.

And while some landlords continue to shun short-term deals — arguing that the rents, which are generally below market rate, do not justify the trouble and cost involved with preparing a space — they are quickly dwindling in number.
Sources: NYTimes.com, May 30, 2017