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Anybody Looking to Rent on Michigan Ave?

By Alicia Dorr in News on May 14, 2007 5:23PM

1121984-Magnificent_Mile_Looking_South-Chicago.jpgThere's about to be some empty spaces on North Michigan Avenue, the likes of which haven't been seen on the Magnificent Mile for 15 years.

Lord & Taylor will soon shutter the doors at its Water Tower Place location, and it will be 2008 before American Girl Place moves from its current spot on Chicago to take over a portion of the space. With CompUSA closing up shop on Chicago as well, retail vacancy for the area will jump, leaving an interesting opportunity for the Mag Mile's character to change in one way or another.

The situation comes at a time when the entire area will already be seeing an expansion of retail space, from the Esquire to the Elysian Hotel and Trump Tower. Add on top of that about 150,000 additional square footage on or directly off the mile due to these moves, and there's a distinct possibility that the feel of the shopping district could change.

We generally avoid North Michigan Avenue because people don't know that you walk on the sidewalk the same way you drive in a car (and we're not in England), are discourteous when swinging their arms and will sometimes stop in the middle of the sidewalk to stare at a tall building. That's why we're inclined to not give a damn whether big box stores move into the expansive space because they are the only ones that can fill the space while still being able to afford the exorbitant rent.

On the other hand, we are suckers for that "World Class City" nonsense Daley is always chirping about (we know, we know), and we are convinced that visitors tend to think of that area as "downtown." Retail fluctuates, stores move and leave and new ones come in — it's not like it's the end of the world. We guess we do have to grudgingly accept, though, that we want stores we can't afford to move in, so that we can continue to view the shopping district with the same slack-jawed awe as the tourists look at the tall buildings with.

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