This story has been making its way around both tech and commercial real estate circles. Google is said to be locking up a lease on 131 Greene St in SoHo for an 8,000 square foot retail space. I find it an interesting choice for Google. Here’s why.
For starters, it helps to have a sense of the layout of this part of Manhattan. SoHo stands for South of Houston and is the area just south of West Houston St at the southern end of the city. SoHo is a big shopping are with both small boutiques and major market clothing retailers. Lots of foot traffic, much of it focused on the east-west running streets like Houston and, one block south of that, Prince St.
For commercial real estate, being on Prince St is like gold. The SoHo Apple Store is right in the middle of all that action, at the intersection of Prince St and Greene St., right on the corner. A fantastic location.
If the rumors are true, Google has chosen to place themselves just half a block from the Apple Store. Smart move.
Google’s potential space is on a relative side street. Greene is a cobblestone street that runs north and south between Prince and Houston. Charming, yes, but the north and south streets don’t have nearly the foot traffic as the main east-west streets. It could be that Google took what they could get, being relatively late to the game. It could be that they valued being close to the Apple Store and are gambling on the future of Greene St, thinking the Google name will bring the foot traffic.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Personally, I’m fascinated by the thought of a brick and mortar Google Store. I hope this rumor turns out to be true. And if it does turn out to be true, I think the restaurants on that stretch of Greene St better gear up for some more customers.