Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Free For All

C. Wonder's SoHo Flagship
As I predicted last year, C. Wonder is now expanding out of New York and is opening a new store in Atlanta.  The new chain started by Chris Burch, ex-husband of Tory Burch will open in the former Sony Style space on the main level of Lenox Square.  The store's first locations in New York have done well with a fifth pop-up shop recently added in Nantucket.  Other new stores are planned forTyson's Corner in Virginia, Time Warner Center in New York and Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California.

Henri Bendel opened last year and is located just a few doors away from where C. Wonder will open.  C. Wonder poached a number of executives from Bendel so it will be interesting to see how they each fare being so close.

East Paces Tavern, the new restaurant coming to the former Abbadabba's shop on East Paces Ferry plans to open this Saturday, the 26th.  A lease on the space was signed last June but work has progressed rather slowly.  I was in the restaurant this week and it looks great with a lot of variety on the menu.  The one downside for some may be that the restaurant allows smoking after 3pm on weekdays and all day on Saturday and Sunday.

Fresh To Order, the Atlanta-based chain with six locations open thus far is planning even more growth.  Having already announced plans for as many as 50 new locations by 2015, including  new locations at Hartsfield-Jackson and Emory Point, I recently uncovered plans for another.  Fresh To Order will also open a new restaurant at CNN Center later this fall.

The Spence from Top Chef Richard Blais and Concentrics Restaurants will open this coming Saturday, the 26th after a number of delays.  The restaurant opens in a seemingly cursed space that has played host to a number of failed restaurant such as WaterHaven and The Globe.  With luck, Blais's celebrity appeal and Concentrics marketing will be the winning combination for a successful venture in the space.

Watershed on Peachtree had a soft opening yesterday and opens for full service this weekend.  The restaurant located in the bottom of the Brookwood condo building in south Buckhead is the reincarnation of Watershed, a Decatur Favorite for many years until it closed last year with the promise to open elsewhere.  Joe Truex remains Executive Chef and is joined by Julia LeRoy who was brought on as Chef de Cuisine.  

Beluga Martini Bar, a Buckhead landmark for years is being rebranded and renamed.  Rose Bar will open in the coming days and the restaurant plans to appeal to a younger demographic.  The concept will be an upscale lounge with bottle service featuring  interior walls that are now exposed brick.  The bar was also increased in size by almost 50%.

Lilly Pulitzer opened her first Atlanta area boutique yesterday in Phipps Plaza.  The store is on the main level in the former Brookstone, opposite Cole Haan.  The store is said to carry "some" of the men's collection such as ties and polos.  

Fresh from Las Vegas and the annual ICSC REcon show, North American Properties has apparently wooed a number of retailers and restaurants to Avalon in Alpharetta.  Avalon is of course the new name of the project formerly known as Prospect Park.  Not surprisingly, Yard House is one of the confirmed signings.  Yard House recently opened in the Dolce Enoteca restaurant space in Atlantic Station and it seemed highly likely and actually a better fit [ than Atlantic Station ] that they would open in Avalon.  Other signings include what will be Atlanta's first Athleta, a lululemon knockoff operated by Gap Inc., and Atlanta's forth Anthropologie store.  Also adding to an existing area presence are Paper Source, Arhaus and Orvis.  Whole Foods Market was previously committed to Prospect Park and has recommitted to the new project. Interestingly, AMC Theatres was confirmed on the earlier project but as Avalon has been replaced by Regal  Cinemas. ( AMC Theatres was purchased earlier this week by China-based The Wanda Group in a deal valued at $2.6 billion. )

Despite earlier information to the contrary, Barney's New York CoOp at Phipps Plaza will in fact have a small liquidation sale.  The sale starts next week and includes all merchandise marked with a red dot.  The expectation amongst the staff is that the sale will start with a 40% reduction and go on from there.  The store is already pretty empty as a significant amount of inventory on hand was transferred to other locations.

TeaFuse, a tea shop and eatery that opened about two years ago in Vinings Jubilee will close after business today but will maintain an offsite catering business.   

Lastly, Rockport closed their Lenox Square store for a second time this week but is keeping open their Perimeter store for now.   Years ago, Rockport had a store on the other end of Lenox Square ( where STANDARD is now) but it closed and in 2010 Rockport came back to the mall, on the Bloomingdale's end, and opened in the former Illuminations space.  Now, Ann Taylor LOFT purchased their lease and will expand their existing store into the former Rockport space in the coming months.  

...Be sure and check back next week for news on a local burger chain expansion and another new intown Chick-fil-A!

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SB said...

Nice work Eli, I missed it the week before last while on vacation so I'm glad you tweeted it again today.

Anonymous said...

How is Athleta a Lululemon knockoff? They've been around for over 10 years?

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Anon,

Both Athleta and lululemon Athletica started in 1998. My feeling is that since Gap's acquisition of Athleta in 2008 and eventual expansion of the brand to a brick & mortar brand, they have copied lululemon's retail design elements and portions of their layout. lululemon stores pre-date Athleta by more than five years.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I do feel that they are a bit more accessible than Lulu, and a little more diverse in their offerings. I think it will fill a niche for folks who don't want to shell out $100 for a pair of yoga pants.

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