Friday, December 3, 2010

Retail Comes To Wilson Yard

Remember all those promises about the new big-name businesses that would come flocking to Wilson Yard and put Uptown on the retail map, erasing the blight and making the tens of millions of dollars spent worthwhile? Well, there's Target. And ... Target. And ... 23,000 square feet of empty storefronts, which makes a nice bookend to the rest of the empty storefronts on Broadway.

Where are Crate & Barrel, Panera Bread, AT&T, the movie theatres, XSport Fitness, Chili's, and all the other big-time, Uptown-renaissance names that Peter Holsten mentioned as possible tenants, just over a year ago?

Finally, the retail that will save Uptown is on the way: EveryBlock reports that 4400 Broadway is getting an interior buildout for . . . a nail salon.

Just another $30,000 of tax money to renovate the space. Quite an accomplishment, Helen and Peter.

Update from the Baum Realty site: Take it for what it's worth, but the updated tenants are shown in the graphic below: PNC Bank in the corner retail space and Five Guys closest to Target?


  1. I generally like the information on this blog as up to date info on the neighborhood. Then I read this post. I am late for work and yet compelled to write this. Please PLEASE have some responsibility in reporting. THank you for linking to the story. The actual statement was “This is a very tough retail market,” Holsten said. “Not a lot of retail [companies] are expanding right now.”
    Holsten said his firm is talking to and/or in negotiation with prospective national retail and restaurant tenants including Chili’s, Sally’s Beauty Supply and XSport Fitness. Talks are also in progress with the Panera Bread Company to lease the corner space at Broadway and Montrose.
    “We don’t have a commitment yet,” Holsten said of Panera Bread, who described Panera as “seriously looking.”

    And finally, the story states that in the 23,000 ft of space, they had signed arrangements with, guess what? "A Nail Salon".

  2. Because of all the hair and nail salons already on the street, there has to be a zoning variance first before another nail salon can go up. It's a city ordinance and Helen is required to follow it.

    I wonder if the zoning variance has been granted by City Council yet? Of course, each alderman is encouraged to get community input first before City Council grants the zoning variance, but Helen just has to say she did, and that's that.

  3. Gotta agree with arehart on this one. Anyone who reads the news knows that retail vacancy rates in the nation and the city are sky high. Even retail in the Loop is just under 20%. Has anyone been to Block 37? The big new shiny mall that is in the center of the Loop where thousands of people work and thousands of tourists visit? The place is half leased, at best - probably closer to 30-35% (I dont have actual statistics but have been in it a few times). Major corporations pulled out when the economy tanked.

    No one can wave a magic wand and fill that vacant space in this economy.

  4. Then why was Holsten, in the midst of the economy, talking about Panera Bread, XSport, and Chili's? Knowing how bad it was, and still pulling names out of the air? Just like Helen, at the same time, was promising a French marketplace at the Wilson train station to replace the mall?

    They know what sounds good when they talk to the press, and have no intention of delivering.

  5. What about the videogame store that was talked about last year as well? "X-Play" i beleive it is called?

    I think the saddest part of all this is how, when initially presented to the public and press, Holsten and Co. made it sound as though all of these tenants were locked in. Clearly he had no contracts whatsoever!! Now all of the potential tenants who he paraded around in his press releases as sure things are nowhere to be found so what do we get? A nail salon....why not just open up another liquor store for the bangers to stand in front of, a hair braiding salon and hell, why not another methadone clinic!! We cant seem to get enough of those in Uptown!!

  6. How about a Level 1 Trauma Center?

    Something that can handle gunshot wounds so our injured don't have to travel to Masonic.

    Maybe, we can just keep some stretchers handy in Shiller's office so when there's a shooting bystanders can just grab the stretchers and take the injured to the new "Shiller Center for Traumatic Injury Treatment" at Wilson Yard.

  7. "No one can wave a magic wand and fill that vacant space in this economy."

    The difference being that these vacant spaces are TAX PAYER FUNDED. There is a certain amount of responsibility to the tax payer when you borrow against their property. If Mr. Holsten has a problem with that, then he can do business the good old fashion way and lure private investors in to his projects.

  8. Irish Pirate, you made me laugh out loud at work! Cheers! I'd like to buy you a beer sometime! Sometimes the best medicine (well besides alcohol) for all of the uncontrollable and scary nonsense going on in our neighborhood is a good laugh because no one seems to be able to do anything to stop it.

  9. arehart,

    The point is to point out the consistent lying. When Wilson Yard was proposed and shoved down the community's collective throat, we were told that the building would be mixed-income, which would help subsidize the lower income well as partial proceeds from rental use of the building would also help subsidize the building. Meaning: The low-income housing would essentially be paid for by other rental units and rents for leased business.

    The reality is that the property owners of Uptown paid for this building...and we get nothing in return but a Target. The point is, Helen and Holsten are notorious for writing checks they can't cash. They talk out of both sides of their mouths and what they say they are going to do, and what they actually DO are two different things.

  10. Won't tip another persons cards, but I heard directly from a principal at a well respected Chicago business that they are seriously considering taking the corner space.

    If they come to that corner, it would be the kind of thing that almost everyone in Uptown would approve of. Hopefully they will take the plunge in the next few months.

    Meantime if the local recreational pharmaceutical salespeople and firearm enthusiasts could avoid that corner until it lures some tenants in that would be greatly appreciated by the community.

  11. Yet Marc Kaplan is out there advocating that all money in the TIFs be returned to the schools. Talk about talking out of 2 sides of your mouth. Apparently, TIF money that didn't get spent on affordable housing (which is about all of it in the City of Chicago) was unjustly taken from the schools. However, he supports future TIF money going towards affordable housing (implicitly suggesting that this should not constitute taking money away from the schools.) AAARGH!!!

  12. I saw the retail listing recently. Still mentions the nail salon, plus an AT&T store, Subway, Hair Cuttery, and some video game place. Also a proposed (but not yet final) bank branch and a Five Guys restaurant with a couple of empty spaces still remaining.

  13. Even if the space does get one new tenant there should be little slack cut for Peter Holstein and Alderman Shiller on the vacancies.

    Real developers who finance their projects with investor money and not by playing with the public TIF coffers tend to sign up a few tenants and do some marketing before they even break ground, and they keep marketing while they're building even after they land an anchor tenant like Target.

    Say what you want about the final design for their project, but real developers, like the guys doing the Addison Park on Clark behemoth planned near Wrigley Field have been nicely marketing their future spaces for years.

    I can't find anything similar on any of the major commercial brokers for Wilson Yards. And when you google "Wilson Yard retail space" it just brings up a lot of UU pages and this gem across the street.

    And a bare bones Facebook page for Wilson Yard apartment rentals.

    As far as marketing any of those spaces the developer has been about as visible on that as Alderman Shiller has on crime. And FWIW the quality tenant interested in that corner found them thanks to a tip from one of their employees who lives in the area, they were never approached. Let's hope they close a deal soon.

  14. The unrealized promises CN speaks of and the economic situation of the last 2 years and some change aerhart and others chimed in, as well I may add the economy was stalling prior to the collapse parallel to said promises are going to add up to another nail salon?!

    Long sentence but....hey.

    A nail salon at this point is a marginal improvement to be charitable.

    Would it be OK if I plug a program in Edgewater which I am participating in which seeks to enhances empty store windows with art until something better comes along.

    Wilson Yards can and will do better eventually in due time. The only thing at this point that could make the matter drag out would be to tie up the space with long-term leases of whatever washes up in this aforementioned bad retail climate, e.g. nail salon.

    I know as an artist I am self-promoting again. However with the same budget we could install art in every empty storefront along Wilson AND Broadway, and have plenty of change left-over....easy!

    Some locations like the ol' Popeyes are a little too nasty right now, but think of how much good-to-go clean and vacant retail we have on those two core streets.

    Honestly...a budget of $1,000-2,000 would probably do it, seriously.

    The art would rotate and add interest to residents and very importantly...potential retail investors. The artists can be professionals, emerging, local school groups, maybe even a mini-stage set plugging say the Annoyance. What is art is an open question, but empty storefronts are forlorn.

    We can do better than this...a nail salon..not to slight them its just we are quite saturated in that category.

    For more info on Edgewater Artists in Motion please visit the link below.

    With Respect,

    Jeffrey Littleton

  15. From all appearances, Holsten probably is expecting the neighborhood to pay to market WY the same way he expected us to pay for most of the building--he already has the cash lining his pocket, so he has walked away anything that will reduce that cash. As far as Shiller goes, you KNOW she doesn't give a rat's patootey--she got her photo op with Richie, and anything else she can do to poke the neighborhood in the eye is icing on the cake for her. So *I* want to know what the aldermanic candidates propose to do to ensure that the TIF's taxpayers get a return on their costly investment, along with what they intend to do to encourage stable long-term appropriate retail development along the entire Broadway corridor? Enough of the posturing--let's see the meat and potatos and show the voters that you're capable of spearheading real community investment.

  16. What I (still) want to know is:

    With a Target, Subway, Five Guys, AT&T and a bank (proposed, but I'll be hopeful), where is the outrage from the anti-gentrification weenies?

    After seeing the Starbucks on Wilson "attacked" by super glue and "stop" signs tagged, having all of this fat-cat white breadedness bearing down on us, I'd certainly expect to be catching a waft or two of angered petuli in the air trying to protect ... whatever it is those whackadoos feel is being threatened.

    Alas, the air is clean (other than the occasional burst of high velocity sulfur, of course).

    Seriously, it's a sad, sad day when you can't count on the unbalanced anarchists to provide some decent comedy.

  17. How can there be outrage from the antigentrification crowd when there are almost daily shootings?
    Or the staggering amount of entrenched poverty in this once vibrant and SAFE part of our city?

    I think Uptown needs all the gentrification it can get.
    We arent even close to being at a point where anyone should be complaining about too much gentrification.

  18. Enlarge and look closely at the floor plan. Businesses like a restaurant (Fat Guys/Chili's et al) will have to haul their garbage/refuse all the way to the west end of the east/west interior coridor. There's no other place for trash storage and pickup. It's a major headache for a high volume trash generating business like a restaurant so I personnally doubt you will see any major tenant as such.

    Edge Com Buzz: Yes there is a lot of retail space avail due the recession, however, how much empty retail is there where you have an available parking lot? Look closely at center's with parking in Chicago and there is very little vacancies.

    Truth is national retailers look at demographics. Uptown's demographics reflect a high rate of low income & seniors. As far as nail salon's go, most of these ops are small family run businesses and their is plenty of solid retail space at lesser cost elsewhere in the vincinty. I highly doubt you will get such a business.

    As for banks, yeah, the blood sucking leaches have money to burn and will put a location on every corner because they charge so many fees these days.

  19. Too bad if that's really going to be a PNC bank on the corner. Will be nice to have more eyes on the area, especially ones that probably come with their own security cameras but the tenant I had heard looking at the space would have created a lot more jobs and had services a lot more people could use.

    I'll believe a Five Guys when I see it. They are expanding rapidly so it's not out of the question and their spokesman says they want to open up to 100 in Chicago eventually (hmmm...) but hard to believe Uptown would be a priority destination unless they're getting a great deal on rent.

  20. Kudos to whoever found the Baum Realty site, I could never find it via google and thought they were just running the apartments not the retail too.

    That overhead map of area business even makes it look like that stretch of Broadway is a thriving retail stretch, although they did seem to accidentally omit the methadome clinics.

  21. All I can say is, take a stroll down Southport and then tell me there's no market for retail. The Paper Source, Leo's, the Aveda hair salon on the corner of Newport, and now a new pancake place north of Grace - the desirable areas in town are continuing to grow and flourish while Uptown stagnates with its fabulous methadone clinics and nail salons.

  22. If you look closely, the video game store and "one of the fastest-growing franchises worldwide" - Play-N-Trade - is there just to the left of Hair Cuttery.

    BTW - Hair Cuttery has a targeted opening date of March 1, which is roughly when Subway will open.