If you collect rent on LA’s Rodeo Drive or NYC’s Fifth Avenue, you’re doing just fine. Thank the weak dollar and Saudi oil money.
There has also been a steep rise in rents in the last year; brokers attribute this in part to a flood of foreign tourism resulting from the weak dollar. Annual asking rents for retail space on Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to 60th Street have risen to as much as $2,500 a square foot, up from $1,500 a square foot a year ago, according to Cushman & Wakefield. “Fifth Avenue is not operating like there is a recession,” [Gene Spiegelman, an executive director in the retail services division of Cushman & Wakefield] said.
Gas and grocery prices may be more than many working-class families can bear, home foreclosures may be soaring, but life is just fine at the loftiest heights of the economy.
At least that’s the view from Beverly Hills, where I spent a recent afternoon popping into pricey boutiques and chatting with retailers and shoppers.
“Business has been crazy-great,” gushed Kim Gregory, manager of the Christofle shop on Brighton Way, purveyor of silver flatware and other furnishings. “It’s like Christmas in here.”…
Not all those purchases were made by well-to-do Americans and Canadians, of course. Retailers in Beverly Hills said they were seeing a lot of business from European travellers with pockets full of super-strong euros, as well as visitors from Saudi Arabia flush with record-high oil profits.
“Saudi princesses,” confided a saleswoman at one Rodeo Drive clothing store she didn’t want named. “That’s who’s doing all the buying.”
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