Syms & Filene’s Basement Going Out Of Business; Will Leave Massive Vacancy In The Heart Of The UWS

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011


Big corporate bankruptcy news today that has a direct impact on the Upper West Side: Syms, and its subsidiary Filene’s Basement, have announced they plan to close all 46 of their stores.

This of course means there will be a massive vacancy on the east side of Broadway, between 79th & 80th, where a Syms/Filene’s combo store takes up most of the block.

They’re hoping to begin the liquidation process as soon as possible and start conducting sales before Black Friday. The liquidation is expected to last through January, at which point the stores will close.

With the shuttering of Filene’s, the popular annual “Running Of The Brides” will also come to an end.

You can read additional details just about anywhere if you Google “Syms” or “Filene’s,” but here’s some brief coverage from AP (via WSJ) and Bloomberg (via SF Gate) — thanks to readers Kim & Gordon).

It was just over a year ago that Syms moved into the former Circuit City space at the corner of 80th & Broadway (plans first announced in February 2010). Ironically, that space became available after the electronics retailer filed for bankruptcy itself.

Once the two stores close in January, the small Zales Jewelers that sits between them will be the only business remaining on that block. Zales Corporation has been dealing with its own financial problems in recent years and is frequently rumored to be on its last legs.

Across the street, the western stretch of Broadway between 79th & 80th is already a pretty depressing place. The northern end of the block is home to two vacant storefronts (formerly H&H and MagicSmile) that have become an unofficial gathering spot for some of the neighborhood’s homeless. The First Babtist Church on the southern end of the block seems to serve the same role. In between are a few unremarkable businesses including Oz Moving & Storage, a FedEx outpost, Canine Styles, and the new Maxiga store, which seems entirely out of place given the surroundings.

The soon-to-be-vacant east side of Broadway is just two blocks north of the already-vacant stretch between 77th & 78th, although at least we know what’s coming to the latter.

More to come on what might replace Syms/Filene’s, which encompasses somewhere between 25,000 – 45,000 square feet of space (I’m seeing conflicting numbers).

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