Banana Republic Plans Lincoln Park Store

{Source: Crain’s Chicago Business / www.chicagobusiness.com}

Clothing retailer Banana Republic plans a store in a Lincoln Park development directly north of a new Target store on Clark Street.

Banana Republic has leased 6,078 square feet in a 22,000-square-foot building at 2720 N. Clark St. that Centrum Partners will begin constructing in about two weeks, Chicago-based Centrum said.

Immediately to the south of Centrum’s site, Target is building out a 32,000-square-foot store at 2650 N. Clark St., where it will replace another Minneapolis-based retailer: Best Buy.

“Banana Republic fills some need for soft goods in this area,” said John McLinden, a managing partner at Centrum. “Retailers aren’t doing a lot of stores these days. A lot of them are being really selective. If you get a quality retailer, it’s a real plum for a neighborhood. Good retailers attract other retailers.”

Centrum bought the site from a trust in January for just over $6 million, and recently began demolishing the building that had been home to Edge Bar & Grill. Centrum plans to complete a new two-story building on the site in October.

Banana Republic will move in late this year or in 2017, McLinden said. San Francisco-based AltSchool—a private school whose investors include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs—has leased the second floor of the building and plans to open for the 2017 school year.

A 2,700-square-foot retail space remains available on the ground floor, and is likely to be filled with a restaurant or coffee shop, McLinden said.

Centrum took out a construction loan of just over $10 million from Chicago-based MB Financial Bank, according to Cook County property records. The project, including the land acquisition, will cost about $12 million, McLinden said.

The site is at Clark and Schubert Avenue, a block south of Diversey Parkway.

Banana Republic has five stores in Chicago, including three on North Michigan Avenue. The others are on North Avenue in the Clybourn Corridor, and in the Roosevelt Collection in the South Loop. Banana Republic also has 15 stores in the Chicago suburbs, according to its website.

Representatives of San Francisco-based Gap, which owns the Banana Republic brand, did not respond to requests for comment.

“The Clark and Diversey area has long been an area where they’ve wanted to put a store,” said retail broker Meredith Oliver, who represented the landlord along with Cushman & Wakefield senior director Brendan Reedy. Banana Republic was represented by Skip Martin, a principal at Envision Realty Advisors.

“There’s very limited supply of spaces bigger than a couple thousand square feet,” Oliver said. “That corridor’s got a lot of little buildings. There’s been little new construction in years. Part of that is the high cost of real estate in that area.”