H. Stern abandons plan to open a store in SoHo

H. Stern, the Fifth Avenue jeweler that had once hoped to make a pioneering foray into SoHo, has abandoned its plans to open a store in a new building in the heart of the neighborhood, a store official reportedly said.

In 1998, H. Stern signed a lease to be the sole tenant of a new building at the corner of Prince and Mercer Streets that would take the place of a parking lotThe New York Times reports. After many delays, the one-story gray steel building, with 3,450 square feet of selling space, was completed in the fall of 2001, but work on the interior never started. In mid-February, the jeweler decided to find a subtenant.

Andrea Hansen, the company’s marketing director for North America, told the Times that H. Stern no longer believed that SoHo was a good market for high-priced jewelry. “The retail climate has changed,” she reportedly said. “The foot traffic may be there, but it’s definitely not for fine jewelry.”

The company had expected to spend about $2 million creating an interior with terra cotta walls and pearwood fixtures imported from Italy, she told the Times. H. Stern, which is based in Rio de Janeiro and has 160 stores around the world, is searching for space on Madison Avenue in the ’60’s.