Neiman’s decision to open a big store in Hudson Yards was controversial, raising questions about whether a city already filled with luxury stores needed another one, and whether tourists and people living and working in the city would shop at the new Neiman’s and other stores in the mall, considering it’s situated on the far west side of Manhattan, in an area that was devoid of retailing. Neiman’s executives, long before opening in Manhattan, knew Hudson Yards would be a gamble. Before Neiman’s agreed to open at Hudson Yards, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue rejected overtures from Related, and Nordstrom came close to taking the site but backed out in favor of opening separate women’s and men’s stores on 57th Street near Columbus Circle.
To convince Neiman’s to open at Hudson Yards, on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors, Related is said to have provided very attractive lease terms, including low rent, as well as unobstructed floor plates, high ceilings, and windows, a concierge and express elevators on the Tenth Avenue side of the mall.
Neiman’s was originally planned at 220,000 square feet but eventually downsized to 188,000, sparking speculation that sales projections for the store had been revised. However, Neiman’s told WWD that there was no reduction in the selling space and that 30,000 square feet of space was taken out of back office operations and storage that was made more efficient, thereby saving some operating costs.
Prior to the opening, Neiman’s billed the store as a testing ground for services and experiences the retailer hadn’t provided before, and creating “a next-generation” store for the future. While elegantly designed with Italian stone columns and works of art from such artists as Frank Stella and Roy Lichtenstein, much of the innovation centered on food, with the epicure concept called Cooks & Merchants, Bar Stanley, and the Zodiac Room. There are also high-tech fitting rooms, a styling lounge, many special services and a more open, fluid floor plan with fewer hard shops than other Neiman’s stores.
It’s not clear whether a Neiman’s departure from Hudson Yards would trigger co-tenancy lease clauses enabling other retailers to depart.