Photo: M. Edlow for GPTMC
With so many Center City office buildings turning residential, many small business owners–particularly those in 1616 Walnut Street–have had to make other plans. The future Joan Shepp, one of Walnut Street’s most stalwart fixtures, has been the subject of intense speculation, as it was hard to imagine the store being anywhere else. Shepp herself has been rather downcast about the need to move, but a source tells us that she’s been paying something like $30 per square foot basically since she opened, and it was simply impossible to keep her at a much lower rate than every other tenant now that the building was changing hands.
According to PhillyChitChat, Shepp has finally hit on a new space–featured, appropriately enough, on the Philly-set movie Trading Places–in the Witherspoon Building at Broad and Walnut, quite close to her old shop. Her windows will face onto Walnut Street, and be much more of a showcase than her previous digs. Congrats, Joan.
Walnut Street in 2007. Via Wikipedia.
The Inquirer‘s fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington spoke with longtime Walnut Street style doyenne and shop owner Joan Shepp this weekend about what she’ll do now that she’s being priced out of the store that made the street chic to begin with. While Shepp isn’t sure where she’ll go next (we’ve heard rumblings about Chestnut Street; also, 15th Street), she certainly can’t afford the rent now charged to the “average 2,000- to 2,500-square-foot store…about $22,000 to $34,000 per month.”
In truth, Walnut Street has been expensive for a long time. In 2005, Women’s Wear Daily put it on a list of the most expensive retail streets, and reported that its average rent was $90 per square foot. (It’s now between $130 and $160 per square foot.)
Don Davidow, co-owner of Knit Wit, which moved to Chestnut Street, told Wellington: “Independent, local boutique owners just can’t afford to be on Walnut Street anymore.” And indeed, many of the newcomers are not independent: Intermix, the coming-soon Madewell, Stuart Weitzman, Theory, and potentially J. Crew menswear and C. Wonder.
GH Realty, aka David Grasso, purchased four floors of the Alison Building–or, as it’s carved in the stone at 1805 Walnut, the ALISON BVILDING. Natalie Kostelni of the Philadelphia Business Journal reports the space is more than 30,000 square feet that’s been divided into residential condos.
Yesterday we broke the news that Madewell and Theory just signed leases on Walnut Street. Madewell will replace Arden B at 1716 Walnut, while Theory will go into 1616 Walnut.
Now Racked Philly reports that the Spanish shoe brand Camper is coming to town–at least, that’s what fashion bible WWD has to say. If the Philly store is anything like the new Nendo-designed Camper store in New York (pictured; photo by Jesse Goff), it’ll be pretty incredible.
Meanwhile, we continue to await the news of which store–or stores–will be moving into the Daffy’s space. We did post a countdown clock based on what a broker told us, but that just made readers hostile because we blew past the deadline by eons. What we believe now, based on multiple tips, is that there will be more than one retailer in the space, and one of those will be some variety of Nordstrom.
A summery dress from Madewell.
Two retail leases have been signed at last: The clothing store Theory will move into 1616 Walnut Street, and women’s clothing retailer Madewell will bring a store to 1716 Walnut.
Photo via visitphilly.com
Talk about the end of an era: It’s hard to believe this day would come. Le Bec Fin, long known as Philadelphia’s flagship fine dining establishment, is through. For longtime residents and natives, it’s almost impossible to imagine the city without Le Bec, which Georges Perrier opened in the early 1970s. At that time, Philadelphia’s restaurant scene was nothing like the one we know today–nothing–and the restaurant’s splendor, haute cuisine, superb reviews and five-star rating brought a luster to the food scene that was sorely lacking.
At the same time, other establishments, big and small, opened within an atmosphere of burgeoning credibility and energy. Frog. The Commissary. The Garden. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Knave of Hearts. Les Amis. Judy’s. But Le Bec Fin always remained the gold standard for exclusive fine dining, oft cited as “the most expensive restaurant in town”–and thus off-limits to many.
In her latest Changing Skyline column, Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron, whose taste is
fairly impeccable, calls the building coming to the 15th and Walnut “visually sublime,” “intellectually rich” and “sophisticated.” Best of all, she says the all-glass, three-story cube will be “one of the city’s finest new buildings.” Not exactly what comes to mind when you think “Cheesecake Factory.”
Photo by Aaron G Stock via Flickr
Fossil wanted signs that didn’t go with an Art Deco facade. Which retailer can make its signage work with the historically designated building?