Friday, March 2, 2012

Apple and Urban Outfitters Expanding at Lenox Square?

Crate & Barrel's current two-level store at Lenox Square
Cupertino, California-based Apple and Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters are both said to be in talks for space in the front of Lenox Square, most likely in the soon to be vacant Crate & Barrel.  Crate & Barrel is relocating to the former Tower Records and a portion of the former CompUSA in the Shops Around Lenox and will serve as the center's anchor.  I first broke this news in 2010,
but the day has finally come.  Crate & Barrel will close their Lenox Square store this Sunday, March 4th and re-open at the Shops Around Lenox Thursday March 29th.  

Though neither Simon nor its local PR agency would confirm anything, well placed sources tell me that Apple and Urban Outfitters each feel the need to expand given their success, and each would like space in the front of Lenox Square.  According to Lenox Square, the current Crate & Barrel space is 35,000 square feet and the current Apple is 8,100 square foot and current Urban Outfitters is 12,643, this would seem to mean both Apple and Urban's could expand significantly, sharing the C&B space.   

Without divulging actual sales figures, I'm told the Lenox Square location of Urban Outfitters generates nearly $10 million in revenue annually, and ranks among the top ten best performing locations in the chain.  Apple, which as a retailer boasts some of the highest sales per square foot of any retail operation in the world, reportedly generates over $100 million in revenue, due in part to their successful business unit within the store.  

The first Apple store opened  in Glendale, California in 2001.  Apple opened on the upper level of Lenox Square in 2002 and  expanded a few years ago to the current 8,100 square foot store.  I'm told the expansion provided more floor space at the cost of stockroom space.  This move led the electronics giant to get creative in stocking merchandise and in turn led them to utilize multiple smaller stock rooms in locations around the mall.   

Last spring, Microsoft opened a 7,900 square foot museum... I mean arcade... I mean store... on the first level of the mall, taking up much of the former Mark Shale space.  The Microsoft store resembles the Apple store in many ways, the one glaring difference is that it's often empty except for freeloaders using the computers to surf the internet or play music videos.  

Additional Apple locations followed at Perimeter Mall in Dunwoody, North Point Mall in Alpharetta and Mall of Georgia in Buford.  There has been talk for years, but no official confirmation,  that Apple was considering a midtown location along the Midtown Mile.  Another midtown option would be to open in the upcoming  Ponce City Market, on Ponce de Leon Avenue.  

I have also heard that Apple hoped to open another, secondary Buckhead location within Buckhead Atlanta (the project formerly known as The Streets of Buckhead. ) The issue with this plan is that Simon requires many of its key retailers, Apple included, to have no other retail presence within a given radius around the mall.  This clause would prevent Apple from having both a Lenox Square store and a Buckhead Atlanta outpost.  The likely outcome is that Apple relocates to the front of the mall, and takes on a significant portion of the Crate & Barrel space, possibly as much as 16,000 square feet, doubling their current size and creating a regional flagship.  

Urban Outfitters could open in the balance of the Crate & Barrel space, giving them as much as 19,000 square feet, roughly a 35% increase over their current space in the rear of the mall.   Urban Outfitters entered the Atlanta market  in 2002 when they opened at Lenox Square.  Since then, the hipster retailer has grown their metro presence with the additions of locations in Midtown on Ponce de Leon in space formerly home to the famous Plaza Drugs (14,000 s/f) and in Dunwoody in the front of Perimeter Mall in the former Z Gallerie space (10,000 s/f).

If and when Urban Outfitters relocates, their current space would be a large vacancy in an increasingly popular area of the mall, now home to a large Forever 21 store as well as an Adidas Originals store and Penguin boutique.  The thought that H&M or Mango might open in the mall has been floated for years, but this location seems doubtful for either, as it's so close to the aforementioned Forever 21.

Urban Outfitters also owns the Free People and Anthropologie lines.  Anthropologie has three locations in Atlanta; in Lenox, Perimeter and on Howell Mill at the Westside Urban Market.  Free People opened their first Atlanta location last year at Lenox Square and will open a second store March 23rd on the westside in White Provision.  

Lenox Square, which opened in 1959 as an open air mall, is in the midst of a significant exterior facelift.  The most recent renovation / expansion was an interior renovation and expansion in 2007 with the expansion of  Neiman Marcus and the addition of the second floor luxury wing.  The second floor luxury wing included a relocated and expanded two-level Ralph Lauren store, a Diesel boutique and a short lived Calvin Klein white label store, among other stores.  

The landmark mall once included such attractions as a United Artists movie theater, an Eckerd drugs, Colonial grocery store and even a McDonald's.  For that matter, the Crate & Barrel's second floor was previously a Houlihan's restaurant.   As of this morning, the porte cochere, the large overhang in the front of the mall has all but been completely removed and will soon be replaced with more glass elements.  The goal of the current renovation is to better compete with newer lifestyle centers and fend off would-be competition from Buckhead Atlanta, which is surely courting retailers from Simon's Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza.   Additional square footage is being added in the front of the mall in addition to making it more pedestrian friendly.  

Competition between Simon and its two malls (Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza) and Buckhead Atlanta has been fierce for years, even without the new Buckhead project open.  Hermes, a longstanding Lenox Luxury Wing retailer, vacated their space in 2007 and relocated to what was at the time meant to be a temporary space on Buckhead Avenue.  As we all know, the project was delayed and has now changed hands and been renamed and Hermes remains in their temporary space.  I'm told they do very well, given their customers are able to park at the door, be greeted on arrival and get in and out with ease.  

While Buckhead Atlanta has managed to keep Hermes in place while it gets its ducks in a row, Bottega Veneta, a division of PPR, originally announced to be opening in the project in 2007 has since abandoned those plans.  Instead, Bottega opened in the Saks Fifth Avenue wing of Phipps Plaza last year.  Art Smith was listed on the Streets of Buckhead website to be opening a concept within the project but opted to open Southern Art in the InterContinental Hotel instead.  The restaurant has been panned by locals and critics alike though publicly Smith says the restaurant has been a success.  Perhaps he should have waited patiently for the Buckhead Atlanta project to come to fruition.  

In terms of food, Lenox Square Grill, a casual concept from Atlanta-based CentrArchy Restaurant Group which opened in 2009, may be on its way out.  I'm told Lenox Square has brought in an outside consultant to advise on the mall's dining options and it's likely Lenox Square Grill will be replaced as a part of the mall's renovations.  One possibility is a Grand Luxe Cafe, a higher end concept from The Cheesecake Factory, which expressed interest in the space back in 2009, but curtailed its growth and never got serious.  Another possibility is P.F. Chang, a restaurant with zero presence ITP, that could potentially do very well in the mall.  Lenox Square Grill did minimal cosmetic work to the restaurant when it opened in place of the 12,500 square foot Clubhouse, but did overhaul the kitchen, representing a significant capital investment. 

Many of the possible square footage examples I mention are purely speculative but come to from extensive research and  retail contacts.  No definite timetable or tenant list is available at this time, but expect to hear something official from the powers that be in the coming weeks.

What do you think of the expansion and renovation plans at Lenox Square?  What would you like to see open in the front of the mall?  Do you think both Apple and Urban Outfitters will open in the former Crate & Barrel or will we see one create a larger-than-life superstore?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.  

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Anonymous said...

It's a total miss if Lenox doesn't go after UniQlo, a rather inventive Japanese style 'Gap' which just opened 2 new Massive store (89000 and 64000 sq. feet) in NYC (in addition to their original SoHo store). They are in major expansion mode as rumor has it Chicago will be the next city that snags a store.

Midtowner said...

I was really hoping for a TopShop/TopMan or All Saints Spitalfields to open in the space. Atlanta needs a free-standing Apple flagship, not another mall-based location. They are beautiful!

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon 1,

As cool as it would be to get a Uniqlo in Atlanta, I doubt it happens anytime soon. As you mentioned, they are just now in domestic expansion mode and its far more likely that Chicago gets a store or LA, sooner than Atlanta.

Thanks for reading and for the comment!

Atlantan99 said...


It's not likely you will see a TopShop/TopMan anytime soon in Atlanta as they are have yet to expand much aside from their SoHo flagship. AllSaints Spitalfields on the other hand has looked at opening a store in Atlanta but has tabled their plans for the moment. They may just be waiting on their perfect location to become available.

Thanks for your readership and comments!

Anonymous said...

Grand Lux would be perfect in the Lenox Grill spot. I always thought PF Changs would make sense at the old ESPN Zone spot next to Cheesecake?

Scotty said...

I've been wondering what store or stores would be big enough to fill the C&B space, and I have to say I hadn't considered either of these stores. The Apple store makes perfect sense to me to move in there. I would love to see them in a much bigger space. Even after they expanded their current store, there are always so many people in there that it feels claustrophobic. Urban Outfitters makes sense too, especially if they take the top floor of the C&B space, since Anthropologie is across the mall from them. I say that only because I know that many people who shop at UO also shop at Anthro.

I'm just glad it sounds like that big space won't be empty for too long once C&B (sadly) moves out. I understand why C&B is moving, but I really hate that they are. I never go to the Shops Around Lenox, simply because there is no real draw for me and because I forget it's there. It was so nice having C&B in the mall because I could just browse while I was already at Lenox.

DAntonio said...

Great post! A larger Apple Store at Lenox would be good even though I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for a flagship in Midtown. I could definitely see another smaller one at the Ponce City too.

I could see H&M in Lenox. At the Beverly Center in LA they have a massive H&M right next to a massive Foever 21. That's also the case at the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, CA. Both the H&M and Fovever 21 there are massive and multi-story.

TopShop seems to be expanding though. They added one in Chicago, one in Vegas is opening March 8th, and they just announced plans for one at The Grove in LA. It would be cool to see one in Atlanta, but again I'm one of those optimistic folks who is hoping for one on the Midtown Mile... :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this article. I'd thought that space would make a great Location for a new Apple store. However, they also really need to put an Apple store in Midtown or Atlantic Station... With the rise of Gen Yer's moving into the city, its a no brainer.

Its also a no brainer to get an H&M in Lennox. UniGlo would likely do well in ATL too. A Zara should be in Atlantic station by now... Let hope the economic recovery continues so some of these empty space in the city will get filled soon!

One last critique. The discussion in the article makes it sounds like ALL Apple stores only did $100M in sales... But clearly you must mean the Lenox Mall store did a $100 Mil. I wonder how the other Apple stores in the atlanta market did?

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE : Apple sales.

I'm sorry about that, my article was meant to reflect sales of nearly $100 million at just the Lenox Square store.

Thanks for your readership and for the comments.

Anonymous said...

Now the talk is of apple looking for a free stander....three apple employees say apple has pulled out of negotiations for the c&b space. More to come

Anonymous said...

A freestanding Apple to replace the old Circuit City (or was it a HiFi Buys) next to the B'head Village!

Atlantan99 said...

@Anon RE : Apple in old HiFi Buys,

Dene Oliver of OliverMcMillan told me at last years RECON in Vegas that the parcel was to become two-level retail. Wonder if this is the new plan, parking will still be questionable given the location.

Where did you hear this?

Thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

@Atlantan: Oh I didn't mean it as a fact, it was more like wishful thinking ;)

Atlantan99 said...

Ahhhh, I see. Thank you for the clarification :)

ct36 said...

Even though a freestanding Apple would be cool, I highly doubt it would generate the sales and traffic that the Lenox one gets. People really like going to the Apple store, but the question is whether they would make the special trip to just go there. That is definitely the case if they move to somewhere near Buckhead Atlanta, especially since traffic is really bad on the weekends. It may just be too much trouble for some.
Myself, I am hoping for a larger A&F, Hollister, Lacoste, Apple, J. Crew, Burberry, etc. New stores I hope would open would be Just Cavalli, Gilly Hicks, Chanel, etc.

Person said...

Once the Buckhead Atlanta development gets going that will be the place to be.

Anonymous said...

You know what I would love to see? Dean and Deluca at the front of Lenox Mall (or at Buckhead Atlanta). There were rumors it was coming to Atlanta before The Streets of Buckhead collapsed, but it would be a really cool addition to Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

What would be awesome is if Lenox or Buckhead Atlanta got a Dean and Deluca. There was a rumor it was heading to the Streets of Buckhead, but that was canned when the project stalled. I miss Dean and Deluca and it would be a perfect addition to ATL, even in the old Lenox Grill spot, assuming it leaves. I'd love a Billy Reid store to open here too.

Anonymous said...

Any updates on this project? It doesn't seem like they are doing anything since Crate & Barrel moved out...


Atlantan99 said...

Hello Anon,

Sorry about the delay.

No new news to report thus far but I hope to have something soon.

Thanks for reading!

Unknown said...

i hope that A&F and hollister stay once the mall is renovated by late 2013.

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