Breaking University City Retail News

The image used to market the space. Via LoopNet.

The image used to market the space. Via LoopNet.

The bad news: Rittenhouse’s Hello World and Wash West’s Hello Home are closing. The good news: They’re combining to open a “lifestyle” store (also called Hello World) at 3610 Sansom Street—which is right near another so-called “lifestyle” store, Urban Outfitters. Only Urban isn’t accessible via the Penn Bookstore. Do we hear the sound of tooth-gnashing at the Navy Yard?

Shoppist’s Emily Goulet spoke with the owner of both stores, who worked with Michael Salove Company on the UCity real estate deal. He gave her more great news, like the opening of another store dedicated to midcentury furniture. But I won’t say any more! Go here for all the details:

BREAKING: Hello World and Hello Home are Combining Into One Huge University City Lifestyle Store [Shoppist]

Conversations of Style: UNIQLO CEO Larry Meyer Talks Fashion and Philly Expansion

Uniqlo3This morning, UNIQLO officially opened its KOP doors in fabulous global fashion. Traditional Japanese taiko drummers took the stage at 5pm—lining up in front of the store and playing every hour until closing time (they’ll be there all weekend, too, starting at noon!). The brand’s U.S. CEO, Larry Meyer, came to town for the opening—and to check on the progress of the Chestnut Street store (more on that next week).

Shoppist spoke with him about the state of malls in general (“There is something to be said about community and socializing, even if you can buy things online. People still go to the movies even though you can watch everyone on TV. I’m not worried about it at this point”), where he gets his shoes (“I like the Italians”), and what sets UNIQLO apart from other inexpensive “fast-fashion” retailers (“constant innovation”).

But then we got down to the basics: What makes this major fashion executive tick? What inspires him and—most importantly—is his closet also organized like a UNIQLO store? It’s our first installment of Conversations of Style, in which we pose six questions to the most stylish people we know.

Keep reading here.

Video: Mega Malls and High-End Malls Are Doing Just Fine, Thank You

Solar powered Shake Shack opens in King of Prussia.

An outpost of the New York-based trendy burger chain Shake Shack opened at the King of Prussia Mall last year — with a solar panel-covered roof.

Since 2007, 400 malls in the U.S. have closed. Now comes the filing of bankruptcy protection from both Quiznos and Sbarro, and that’s after the partial demise of mall anchor tenants like JC Penney and Sears. From Yahoo Finance:

A decade ago there were more than 1,100 enclosed shopping malls in the U.S. Since then more than 400 have either been “re-purposed” or closed outright. No new malls have been completed since at least 2009.

Onetime mall devotees like Shoppist editor Emily Goulet are now mall escapees. Of the Oxford Valley Mall, she writes:

It’s dirty. It’s depressing. …The quality of stores has gone down, way down… The stores that remain need a facelift, too. Dressing rooms are in desperate need of a paint job, racks are horrifically disorganized, and everyone just looks like they want to go home. Even the clothes, which sag limply from hangers and hang off the arms of chipped mannequins that look like they’re from about 1987.

Read more »

Morning Headlines: Two Local Kmart Locations Will Close

Bye Bye, Big-K! Photo courtesy of Google Street View

Bye Bye, Big K!
Photo courtesy of Google Street View

Yesterday morning, based on a tip from an employee, we broke the news that the Kmart at the Gallery was going to close. Today the Business Journal sounds another Kmart death knell: the location in the Northeast will close as well.

The Gallery location’s closure comes at the cost of 120 employees, who will still have their jobs when liquidation sales begin Sunday, February 9th. Even more to look forward to are PREIT’s choices for new retailers: Will they be high-end, or Forever 21?
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Morning Headlines: PREIT Sees Possibility in JCPenney Closure

Screen shot of JCPenney at Exton Square Mall via Google Street View

Screen shot of JCPenney at Exton Square Mall via Google Street View

JCPenney will be shutting down 33 of its department stores, one of which is located at the Exton Square Mall. However, it looks like the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), the mall’s current owner since 2003, is seeing this as a “when one door closes, another opens” moment.

PREIT has a strong track record in redevelopment of its malls (Cherry Hill, Moorestown, and perhaps, the Gallery?) so the soon-to-be-free 118,00-square-foot space will actually allow the company to re-envision Exton as a retail draw.

PREIT CEO Joseph Cordiano told the Philadelphia Business Journal:

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Will Anthropologie Leave Rittenhouse Square? [UPDATED]

UPDATE: A reliable source tells us that Anthropologie just re-signed, and will, in fact, be staying on.

The circa-1897 Fell-Van Rensselaer building — or as most refer to it, “the Anthropologie building” at 18th and Walnut — was put on the market this summer. At the time, the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni said the estimated price could go as high as $40 million. She also noted that Anthropologie, the upscale Urban Outfitters brand, had a “sweet deal” — $14 per square foot.

Indeed, that’s practically cavity-inducing. Jacob Cooper, vice president of MSC, estimates that the market rent for the 25,000-square-foot space on a blended basis — first, second, and third floors combined –would be between $70 and $90 a foot, particularly considering the nontraditional layout of the property.

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Philadelphia Retail Market Trends: Asking Prices Are Up

LoopNet has released some trend data, which is always fun, particularly when represented by colorful lines. Here’s how it breaks down. For sales of retail commercial properties, the median asking price per square foot has increased by 8.6 percent in the last three months, and by 7.9 percent since last year.

The news is also good for lease trends.

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Retail Report: Uniqlo to Open on Chestnut Street in May

UNIQLO

Our sister site Shoppist has more details of what we first reported back in August: Uniqlo, which is basically the Japanese H&M, is definitely coming to 1608 Chestnut Street, the four-floor building once home to the Art Institute and Filene’s Basement (though not simultaneously). Sounds like Michael Salove Company handled the sale, which is a shame for Fameco as it seems they were also vying to handle Uniqlo’s business. Putting brokerage competition aside, we’re just happy to see more big-time retail on Chestnut.

Morning Headlines: Former Home of Brasserie Perrier Sells for $18 Million [UPDATED]

1619 walnut street

Screen shot of 1619 Walnut Street via Google Street View.

1619 Walnut Street, home for 12 years to Brasserie Perrier, is smack dab in the middle of Rittenhouse Row, a stretch of Walnut that was — not long ago and more than once — compared to King of Prussia for its retail-centric real estate and open arms to chain stores.

Now one of the least fashion-oriented companies in the U.S. — financial services group TIAA-CREF — has purchased the building (which is anchored on the ground floor by Ulta Beauty Supply) for around $18 million, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal.

As of press time, TIAA-CREF has not responded to call for comment on planned use for the building; the company has one other Center City location at 1835 Market Street and has not publicly announced a plan to vacate. (An employee at the Market Street location said there were no plans to move at this time.)

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