Sky-High Rent Districts

Beverly Hills' posh Rodeo Drive is the most expensive place in the country for a retailer to rent space outside of Fifth and Madison avenues in Manhattan, according to a new study by Garrick-Aug Associates Store Leasing Inc.

Rodeo's rarefied annual rents of $150 to $200 a square foot are comparable to the $150-to-$250 range for Madison Avenue between 57th and 72nd streets. But both are outdone by the stretch of Fifth Avenue between 49th and 56th streets, where rents go for $150 a square foot to $383, the study found.

Rodeo Drive was followed by Michigan Avenue in Chicago, where rents range from $100 to $140 a square foot.

High rental prices are directly related to revenues in the ritzy shopping districts, said Michael Hirschfield, chairman and chief executive of the survey firm.

A merchant paying $200 a square foot for an average-size store of about 2,000 square feet would be taking on an annual rent of $400,000. "Obviously, his sales volume must be able to justify that kind of overhead," Hirschfield said.

Two areas in San Francisco--Sutter Street and Union Square-Post Street--ranked fifth and sixth on the survey at $100 to $125 a square foot.

Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla., Connecticut Avenue in Washington, Columbus Avenue in New York and Newbury Street in Boston rank seventh through 10th with rental prices ranging from $75 to $100 a foot.

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