A luxury retailer is ditching its Oak Street storefront and returning to the Magnificent Mile, marking a much needed win for the famed shopping strip that’s still reeling from the pandemic.
Paul Stuart has signed a 5,250-square-foot lease spanning two floors at 822 North Michigan Avenue, Crain’s reported. The company will relocate from its 4,000-square-foot space 107 East Oak Street early next year.
Anthony Campagni of Canvas Real Estate represented Paul Stuart in the lease agreement, while Michael Loftsgaarden represented Loyola University Chicago, which owns the 15-story Mag Mile building.
The deal bucks the trend of high-end retailers relocating from Michigan Avenue to Oak Street, a luxury shopping hub in Gold Coast known for its exclusive boutiques. Luxury fashion house Bottega Veneta, for instance, ditched its Mag Mile space several months ago in a move to 41 East Oak Street.
Paul Stuart CEO Trevor Shimpfky cited a desire for more open space and visibility as the driving factors behind the relocation, as its Oak Street store has just a single window display. The move is also a return to Mag Mile for Paul Stuart, which previously occupied space in the former John Hancock Center at 875 North Michigan before opening its Gold Coast store in 2008, the outlet said.
The lease signing also offers a glimmer of hope for other Mag Mile landlords. The once-vibrant shopping corridor is practically a ghost town compared to pre-pandemic days. An increase of online shopping, less foot traffic and local crime contributed to a retail vacancy rate of nearly 30 percent earlier this year.
Household brands like Banana Republic, Gap, Uniqlo, Macy’s and Timberland have all vacated their Mag Mile storefronts in recent years. While a few retailers, such as Alo Yoga and Aritzie, have signed Mag Mile leases this year, the area still has a long way to go before a recovery appears on the horizon.
Meanwhile, as Loyola celebrates the Paul Stuart move, the owner of 107 East Oak Street has been dealt a blow. A venture of New York-based financial services company TIAA-CREF bought the Gold Coast property for $18.9 million in 2014.