Despite strong economic conditions with increasing levels of gross city product, employment, and total retail sales, the Manhattan retail market continues to struggle with declining rents and an increasing amount of available space, conditions evident in both Q4 2018 and the year overall. The aggregate average asking rent decreased by 2.3% year-over-year to $680 per sq. ft., declining in 11 of the 16 main retail corridors. Availability increased, due in part to landlords splitting large blocks into smaller spaces, contributing to the uptick in ground floor availabilities. On a positive note, leasing activity remained solid throughout Manhattan in 2018, largely keeping pace with 2017, although Q4 2018 saw a modest slowdown. Still, brokers report an uptick in tenant interest over the year, with landlords actively negotiating to close deals. The fourth quarter saw 400,000 sq. ft. of transactions, with entertainment and food & beverage the most active categories. SoHo and the Upper West Side stood out in terms of leasing volume in Q4 –with close to 68,000 sq. ft. and 62,000 sq. ft. closed, respectively.