The iconic FAO Schwarz toy store in Manhattan, owned by Toys “R” Us, will be closing on July 15 because of increased costs to rent the building it is currently at, in the General Motors building. The FAO Schwarz store features the giant toy piano popularized by Tom Hanks dancing on it in the movie, Big from 1988. The famous toy store has been at the same location for approximately 30 years.
The departure of the FAO Schwarz toy store from its Manhattan location will be sad news to many people who have gone to the store since they were kids and have grown up and taken their own children there, becoming lifelong fans and customers. However, the closing of the famous toy store in Manhattan does not mean that it will be the end of the road for it.
FAO Schwarz Will Reopen Possibly Near Times Square
The FAO Schwarz toy store has existed at many other locations in New York City in the past, and Toys “R” Us has plans to reopen it somewhere else, possibly in or near Times Square. Toys “R” Us has no plans to permanently shut the doors of the toy store, but just to move it elsewhere.
Toys “R” Us has decided not to renew the lease that the company has with Boston Properties. The lease does not run out until 2017, but Toys “R” Us said in a statement that the company has reached an arrangement to vacate the two stories that FAO Schwarz occupies in the General Motors building about two years prior to the actual expiration of the lease.
Besides being very popular with the residents of Manhattan, the toy store has become a popular side destination for shoppers and tourists from across America and internationally. Toys “R” Us stated that the company’s decision to move the toy store to a different location was based on “the continuing rising costs of operating a retail location on Fifth Avenue in New York City.”
Toys “R” Us Has No Plans to Permanently Do Away With FAO Schwarz
Despite the decision by Toys “R” Us to close the FAO Schwarz toy store in Manhattan, the good news is that the company has no plans to permanently do away with it. Though Toys “R” Us has not officially announced exactly where the toy store might reopen its doors at, a statement the company released stated that “it is actively searching for another location in midtown Manhattan.”
At its current location, the toy store takes up around 65,000 square feet of space. According to Crain’s New York Business, Toys “R” Us is paying less than $300 per square foot for rent there. That is actually a fairly good deal, considering that the report mentioned that Boston Properties is considering renting out the same ground floor place to whoever occupies it next for $2,000 per square foot or more.
FAO Schwarz has been in existence for over 150 years and its presence will continue in New York, once Toys “R” Us has settled on a location and takes the necessary time to move into the building and reopen the store. The toy store began in 1862 and it has been in the General Motors building since 1986, according to Toys “R” Us, who bought it in 2009. One of the other New York locations the store has been at is Manhattan’s Union Square.
FAO Schwarz employs approximately 200 people. Toys “R” Us has stated that the company will try to find the employees jobs working at other Toys “R” Us and Babies”R” Us stores. Even during the period of time when the store will be closed, which might last until around late 2016 or so, Toys “R” Us will continue selling toys that bear the FAO Schwarz name, both online and in the company’s retail stores.
Fifth Avenue in Manhattan has been “home” to the FAO Schwarz toy store for practically 30 years. Toys “R” Us has announced that, due to increasing rental costs, the company will be closing the toy store and relocating it elsewhere. While the closing of the toy store marks the end of an era, it also marks the beginning of another one. In late 2016, when it reopens, the FAO Schwarz name and legacy will continue on.
Written By Douglas Cobb
USA Today: FAO Schwarz toy store in NYC closing July 15
Bloomberg Business: FAO Schwarz’s Manhattan Store to Close in July as Rents Rise
CNN Money: FAO Schwarz toy store closing in July
Photo Courtesy of Rob Young’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License