When it comes to retail, Madison Avenue is getting a remake.

Recent tariff talks have allegedly dampened foreign enthusiasm, and fledgling brands may balk at traditional 10- or 15-year leases. And while some brokers are celebrating new retail deals, a few building owners are agreeing to longer-term pop-ups and short-term leases, hoping rents grow higher in the interim.

“We are seeing tenants come in, and it’s a little dicey in that they are 1- to 3-year terms,” says Robin Abrams of Compass. “Hopefully that’s not the new norm.”

Most renewals or moves by existing stores are being signed as traditional longer-term leases. But, Andrew Goldberg of CBRE notes, “Companies you’ve never heard of — but the younger generation knows their names — are looking for short-term situations.”

Because their businesses change so much, Goldberg adds, they worry about getting locked into something that won’t work for them even five years out.

When it comes to location, brands eyeing Madison are zeroing in on the upper 50s and lower 60s. For example, Kim Mogull of Mogull Realty is working with a European luxury goods retailer, focusing on options near East 57th Street and Madison. A few years ago, she would have recommended farther north. But now, “Madison’s upper blocks just don’t have high pedestrian counts,” Mogull observes.

The teeming area south of East 61st Street gets its additional footfalls from large Midtown office buildings as well as tourists. Two luxury brands, Celine and Balenciaga, opted to relocate south of their current spots and closer to 57th: Celine at 650 Madison and Balenciaga at 620 Madison, the rear of the GM building. The latter space, which held a holiday pop-up for shoe and bag label Mansur Gavriel, hasn’t had a permanent tenant in two years, since leather goods store Bally decamped to a smaller space on Madison and 62nd Street.

Bally moved to a new location on Madison. Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for BALLY

“It’s nice to see there are two companies committing long-term,” Goldberg says of these more traditional deals.

The brands moving south from the high 60s are “taking more globally consistent flagships” and renting in buildings that will give them more visibility, explains Gene Spiegelman of Ripco Real Estate.

Despite political uncertainty surrounding tariffs, global retailers seem keen to put down Midtown roots. Back in February, William Abramson of Buchbinder & Warren saw a flurry of interest in the firm’s Madison Avenue properties from overseas brands. But the conversations tapered in April, with promises to take another look in the third quarter, which has come and gone.

“The brokers said [the brands] put things on hold because of worries about tariffs, and they [remain] scared of the present political situation,” he says. “Businesses don’t like uncertainty.”

Yet even prior to Canada signing a new US trade agreement, Toronto-based cosmetics company Deciem — which bills itself as “The Abnormal Beauty Company” — leased a compact 400-square-foot corner store at 611 Madison at 58th Street.

The space had a lot of interest, adds Abramson.

Meghan Markle wore a Ralph & Russo dress in her engagement shoot; the British label is coming to 680 Madison.Alexi Lubomirski via AP; Brian Zak/NY Post

Similarly, British luxury brand Ralph & Russo filled a long-empty duplex by committing to a large storefront at 680 Madison. Meghan Markle wore one of its dresses for her engagement shoot with Prince Harry, sparking US interest in the stylish label. Redeveloped 680 Madison, owned by Thor Equities, also counts luxury Italian menswear retailer Brioni as a tenant.

Brokers confide that while face rents are putting on a brave front, in the $1,200 and up range, taking rents are now far lower. Buildouts, many months of free rent and “real” monthly tabs are taking their toll, putting net effective rents closer to $800 a square foot. But such concessions are also prompting more lease signings from those without tough lenders clinging to higher rents to cover their mortgages.

The Madison Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), which runs from 57th to 86th streets, is also watching the reinvention of its lower reaches.

Balenciaga enjoys its aluminum-style siding and then some.Brian Zak/NY Post

For example, Balenciaga, under the Kering Group umbrella, is currently at 840 Madison in an artsy, aluminum-style space that opened in 2016. That space was previously used by sister brand Gucci. Other Kering siblings include Alexander McQueen at No. 747, Bottega Veneta at No. 740 and Pomellato at No. 741 along “jewelry row” across the street.

“There is always movement,” says BID president Matt Bauer. “We are very confident that [the empties] will be filled again. We might see more musical chairs but, ultimately, we see brands investing in Madison to reach their core Upper East Side consumer.”

Indeed, the iconic department store Barneys recently signed a 10-year lease, for $44 million a year, to remain at 660 Madison Ave. This deal — decided by an independent arbitrator at over double the department store’s previous lease — may be a harbinger of things to come for other iconic Manhattan retailers.

The City Council will soon consider a controversial plan to require building owners to offer 10-year leases to current commercial tenants with an arbitrator to decide the rent.

“Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail,” says Douglaston Development’s Jeffrey Levine.