Gap will exit Brookfield’s Water Tower Place, joining Macy’s

Moves comes as the Gap sheds hundreds of locations

Gap CEO Sonya Syngal, Brookfield Property Partners CEO Brian Kingston and Water Tower Place (Getty; Google Maps)
Gap CEO Sonya Syngal, Brookfield Property Partners CEO Brian Kingston and Water Tower Place (Getty; Google Maps)

The Gap will permanently close its store at Water Tower Place on the Magnificent Mile, with the announcement coming days after Macy’s said it would exit its flagship location at the same Brookfield Property Partners-owned mall.

The 3,700-square-foot Gap Kids store at Water Tower Place closed when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the spring, then reopened before closing again last month, Crain’s reported. Both it and a 7,100-square-foot Gap Kids location at 1740 North Sheffield Avenue will not reopen, according to the outlet.

The pandemic has pummeled the already wounded retailer. In April, the Gap stopped paying rent on its more than 2,700 stores under various brands nationwide. Brookfield has been among the landlords that have sued the Gap for non-payment of rent. In July, the Gap responded, arguing in a lawsuit filed in Cook County Court that its leases with Brookfield should be modified or terminated. The Gap claimed coronavirus-related restrictions made the core purpose of those leases “illegal, impossible, and impracticable.” The retailer has used a similar argument with other landlords.

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In late October, Gap Inc. announced it would be exiting malls and closing 350 of its stores — 220 of its namesake Gap shops, and 130 Banana Republic outposts — by early 2024. The company has said 80 percent of its remaining stores will be in off-mall locations. The move came as the Gap has attempted to reinvent itself, focusing predominantly on outlets and e-commerce.

Macy’s has followed a similar playbook. The recent decision to shutter its 170,000-square-foot store at Water Tower Place was months in the making. Macy’s is also moving to smaller stores along with larger fulfillment centers for online shoppers.

In addition to the two locations that will not reopen, the Gap previously announced it would shutter its 28,000-square-foot store at 555 North Michigan Avenue, also along the Mag Mile. That will close later this month, Crain’s reported.

A spokesperson for the company said it was “looking thoughtfully at our real estate to support the best path forward.” [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman