Monday, March 30, 2009

Five New Stores For 108 North State

Here's the text of a press release from Joseph Freed announcing new stores at Block 37/108 North State:

Famed Chicago Clothier Bigsby & Kruthers among new tenants

CHICAGO - Block 37 master developer Joseph Freed and Associates LLC announced today that five more leases have been signed with retail tenants for Block 37.

Those signed include the famed Chicago clothier Bigsby & Kruthers, Swarovski, Starfruit, Tahini and Sunglass Hut.

"With the signing of these tenants, we have taken another big step toward bringing this project across the goal line," said Larry Freed, President of Joseph Freed and Associates LLC, the project's developer.

"When it opens this fall, Block 37 will be the source of 2,000 jobs and over $17.5 M in annual tax revenue for the City of Chicago. To date, the project has brought over 2,200 construction jobs to Chicago," Freed said.

Ty Tabing, Executive Director of the Chicago Loop Alliance, commented that "we are extremely excited to see this progress on Block 37. The historic significance of bringing the uniquely Chicago Bigsby & Kruthers brand to the project is very important. It is reminiscent of the high quality retailers who originally were located on the site."

He went on to say that he anticipates that "having the Bigsby store on the second floor of the project will be quite effective in driving foot traffic within the project."

Freed reflected that these five tenants contribute to the new, dynamic, cutting-edge tenant mix that has been the goal for the property since Freed purchased the project in 2007.

Also sensitive to the historic significance of the project, Freed said, "Putting a Bigsby & Kruthers store in the heart of downtown Chicago on this historic block is especially appropriate when you consider the strength and longevity of the Bigsby brand in Chicago," he said.

"We will be able to bring together the best and newest in men's and women's fashion, quality service and attention to the needs of our customers with Joe Silverberg and his partner, Jack Shniderman re-launching the Bigsby & Kruthers brand," Freed continued.

Silverberg opened his first Bigsby & Kruthers store with his brother, Gene Silverberg, in Chicago in 1970. For years, they dressed the nation's CEO's, celebrities and professional athletes at their Bigsby & Kruthers stores. The company received national and international attention and awards including a listing in Esquire Magazine as one of the top ten specialty
retailers in the United States and was featured in Esquire, Forbes, GQ and the Wall Street Journal.

Known for his genial personality and his expertise and experience as a successful merchant, Joe Silverberg is excited to be able to respond positively to the demand for the quality fashion synonymous with the Bigsby & Kruthers brand.

"We believe that we have a terrific opportunity right now — we've had a great response from our manufacturers and a continuing demand from our customers to re-launch Bigsby & Kruthers with both men's and women's clothing. And we have the chance to locate at Block 37 in the heart of downtown Chicago where we can attract business people, tourists and visitors to the theatre district and the financial district."

Jack Shniderman is also a retailer with deep experience in the Chicago market. A native Chicagoan, Shniderman began his career at Eric Salm in Lincoln Village. Recruited by Robert Vance Ltd. in 1979 as a buyer, he worked his way up to president of the company with 3 retail stores and an outlet store. He bought the company in 1985 and still owns it.

Under his leadership, Robert Vance has been featured in Celebrated Living Magazine as one of the best places to shop "off the beaten path" and nominated by MR Magazine as one of the top 25 most interesting stores. The menswear newspaper, Daily News Record has also profiled the company.

Shniderman opened Polo Ralph Lauren stores for a company with licenses for locations in Pittsburgh, Fort Lauderdale and Short Hills, New Jersey. In 1986, Shniderman and his partners bought the Chicago Polo Ralph Lauren store. He sold it back to Ralph Lauren in 1993 as part of Lauren's buy-back of license rights prior to taking his company public.

Shniderman sees the new Bigsby & Kruthers as offering the next generation of service — the "new gentleman's cool" fashion with a diverse men's product offering of approximately 30% suiting and 70% sportswear and a significant custom area. The women's collections will be similarly cutting edge.

Both men emphasize that the store will offer a "special" experience to its customers with excellent service, new, cool clothing along with the more traditional and a mix of diverse price points that provide value at each price.

Bigsby & Kruthers will occupy 9,000 square feet on the second floor of the project.
In addition to Bigsby, the other new tenants announced today include Tahini, a 1,500 square-foot fast casual eatery located on the Transit Level that specializes in Mediterranean-style sandwiches, salads, and desserts.

Starfruit Cafe serves a variety of organic frozen yogurt and kefir in fruit flavors and more than 20 toppings. Other treats include parfaits and lowfat smoothie-style kefir drinks. Kefir is a cultured milk product, with more probiotic qualities than yogurt. The cafe occupies a 700 square- foot space on the Transit Level. It is owned by Lifeway Foods, a Morton Grove, Illinois-based company.

Sunglass Hut is a recognized leader of specialty sunglass retailing with nearly 2,000 locations worldwide. Sunglass Hut stores, located in a wide variety of high-traffic shopping and tourist destinations, offer consumers the latest branded products from Oakley, Ray-Ban, Guess, DKNY, and many more. Sunglass Hut at Block 37 is located on Level One in a 1,000 square-foot space.

Swarovski is considered by many to be the finest quality lead crystal made today, featuring precision-cut Austrian crystal in striking prisms of gleaming beauty. Products include figurines, designer table top accessories, art objects and jewelry. The 900 square-foot Swarovski boutique at Block 37 is located on Level One.

Leasing continues at the Block 37 project, with additional announcements expected in the next two to four weeks.

Other tenants announced to date include Chicago's Lettuce Entertain You, bringing a new-concept restaurant and food court to the project; Muvico, a premium movie venue offering reserved seating, restaurant and bar service and first-run movies; PUMA; Zara; Anthropologie; and a store and salon by Aveda.

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