Knit Wit Closes One Door, Looks to Open Another

Knit Wit has lost its lease at 1729 Chestnut St. But not to worry: its owners are already scouting for its next home on Rittenhouse Row.

Knit Wit has lost its lease at 1729 Chestnut St. But not to worry: its owners are already scouting for its next home on Rittenhouse Row.

A “lost our lease” sale is usually sad news, but in the case of Knit Wit, the store’s owners are taking the forced closing of its 1729 Chestnut Street location in Rittenhouse Row in stride.

“We are out looking for a new location every day and will keep you posted as soon as we find a great new space,” Ann Gitter, co-owner of Knit Wit, said in a news release. “Our Bryn Mawr and Margate locations are receiving new merchandise daily. They are open and will continue to be. We thank Philadelphia for all of the love and support and hope to be open somewhere great as soon as we can.”

Rittenhouse Row’s executive director, Corrie Moskow, is an old friend of Gitter’s. Like Gitter, Moskow says the closing is simply another step in the upscale boutique’s evolution. Read more »

I. Goldberg To Remain on Chestnut Street

The future home of I. Goldberg at 718 Chestnut St. | Photo: Sandy Smith

The future home of I. Goldberg at 718 Chestnut St. | Photo: Sandy Smith

Nana Goldberg, owner of the legendary I. Goldberg Army-Navy store, knew her days at 13th and Chestnut might be numbered back in 2015 as a wave of retail redevelopment worked its way eastward from Broad Street. But she wasn’t prepared to absorb a fourfold rent increase her landlord proposed to implement at the end of her lease this coming September.

Fortunately for her and for legions of I. Goldberg fans, she won’t have to, nor will she have to close the store. Her search for new digs has come to a successful end with the signing of a lease for 718 Chestnut Street. Read more »

CCD Report: Millennials Help Spur Strong Retail Growth

National and international retailers like Uniqlo have created positive buzz and helped turn around Chestnut Street's fortunes, but independent local retailers remain the backbone of Center City's increasingly strong retail scene. | Photo: M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

National and international retailers like Uniqlo have created positive buzz and helped turn around Chestnut Street’s fortunes, but independent local retailers remain the backbone of Center City’s increasingly strong retail scene. | Photo: M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Just as the influx of new residents into Center City ultimately overflowed its confines, the retailers and restaurateurs that are rushing to serve them are finding they need to expand their horizons in order to find suitable space.

That’s one of the main takeaways from “Center City Reports: Philadelphia Retail” (PDF), the latest in a series of periodic reports by the Center City District and the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, issued yesterday (Dec. 5). Read more »

Post Brothers Bets on Chestnut’s Retail Future (and Walnut’s Too)

This architect's rendering shows what 1520-22 Chestnut might look like once renovations are complete. | Rendering courtesy PH Retail

This architect’s rendering shows what 1520-22 Chestnut might look like once renovations are complete. | Rendering courtesy PH Retail Partners

“We’re bullish on Center City, and anytime we see an opportunity, we’re going to pursue it.”

That statement from Matt Pestronk explains in a nutshell why PH Retail Partners, the commercial real estate affiliate of Post Brothers, just purchased two properties on prime retail blocks west of Broad Street.

One, at the corner of 15th and Walnut streets, consists of three buildings with street-level retail and office space above. Two of the three retail spots are occupied, one by AT&T Mobility and the other by Club Monaco. The third space, whose last long-term tenant was a Puma store, currently has a pop-up tenant occupying the space. The other, a two-story retail building at 1520-22 Chestnut St., has been vacant since a Dollar Tree store closed last fall. Read more »

I. Goldberg Hopes To Stay But Is Prepared to Go

Owner Nana Goldberg says the iconic military surplus/outdoor store will have a future, either at 13th and Chestnut or somewhere else. Photo | Sandy Smith

Owner Nana Goldberg says the iconic military surplus/outdoor store will have a future, either at 13th and Chestnut or somewhere else. Photo | Sandy Smith

The owner of 1300 Chestnut St., once a high-fashion department store for women, is interested in getting more for its money. Pursuant to that, owner PMC Property Group has been shopping the commercial space on its first two floors and its basement to prospective tenants.

The space already has a tenant, however: I. Goldberg, the iconic military surplus store and outdoor outfitter that’s been a Chestnut Street landmark for decades. It landed here when Thomas Jefferson University bought its former location at 902 Chestnut St. in the early 2000s to build a parking garage. Read more »

Warby Parker to Le Bec-Fin Site a Sign That Center City Is Changing

Warby-Parker-AITA

On the surface, Warby Parker opening a new location on Walnut Street isn’t huge news. Sure, having the tech-based eyeglasses startup in town brings in more tax revenue, raises the city’s cool factor, and ups our retail game another notch. But it means a whole lot more than that. It’s a sign that Center City’s retail landscape has changed in a big way.

First of all, it’s going into the old Le Bec-Fin space at 1523 Walnut. For years, Le Bec-Fin was the pinnacle of fine dining in Philadelphia led by legendary chef Georges Perrier. But times change, tastes change, and it finally closed in 2013. Chef Justin Bogle tried to resurrect the space as the more modern Avance but that closed after just 10 months. Read more »

New Life for the Philadelphia Blueprint Company on Chestnut Street

Rendering of 725 Chestnut Street | via Urban Space Development Inc.

Rendering of 725 Chestnut Street | via Urban Space Development Inc.

The 700 block of Chestnut Street is about to see some major changes. Sure, you could point to the 32-story tower proposal at the surface parking lot at 709 Chestnut Street as proof positive, but there are smaller plans in the works that will also have a significant impact.

For starters, the movement to have four architecturally important buildings designated as historic means that the character of the block will remain. (A welcome sight an ever-changing city, as well as for a block that features a garish parking garage at the corner of 8th and Chestnut.) That includes the former Quaker City National Bank Building, as well as a lesser known project that will see four condos (with asking prices over the $1 million mark each) added to the block at 725 Chestnut Street, the former home of the Philadelphia Blueprint Company. Read more »

12-Story AQ Rittenhouse to Open Next Week With Jefferson Outpost, Charter School

A rendering of the project by architect BLT.

A rendering of the project via Aquinas’ website.

Roughly 13 months after the project broke ground, AQ Rittenhouse will officially cut the ribbon and open its doors on Wednesday, May 13. The project from Aquinas Realty Partners transformed the blighted annex of the old YWCA at 2021 Chestnut into a 12-story, 110-unit mixed-use complex that will offer both luxury and market rate rentals. Read more »

Our First Reactions to Philly’s New Forever 21 Store

The shiny new Chestnut Street storefront. | Photo courtesy Forever 21.

The shiny new Chestnut Street storefront. | Photo courtesy Forever 21.

Although Forever 21 is typically deemed “throw-away” or “fast fashion” — ultra-trendy pieces made of low-quality fabrics — I’m an avid shopper of the chain. I’m a college student with a bank account that often dips into the single digits, and the rock-bottom prices work with my paltry clothing budget.

Forever 21 is well-known for its disastrous, messy stores —surely the result of simply having so much merchandise. So when I heard that Philly was getting its own outpost — nestled at 1708 Chestnut Street, just steps away from American Eagle and H&M — I was suspect. Forever 21 stores in the middle of suburbia are usually disorganized; how would  a Forever 21 smack-dab in the middle of bustling Center City fare?

I gave the brand-new store just over a week to sort itself out (I visited the store on opening day, but left within minutes because it was so crowded). I finally ventured back today — right in the middle of the afternoon — to see if it met my high expectations for a city shop, or if it fell short. Here’s what I found. Read more »

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