Acadia improves Mag Mile prospects with yoga apparel retailer

Alo Yoga will lease a small space on Michigan Avenue

717 North Michigan Avenue and Kenneth Bernstein with Acadia Realty Trust
717 North Michigan Avenue and Kenneth Bernstein with Acadia Realty Trust (Google Maps)

Acadia Realty Trust is closer to reviving a Magnificent Mile storefront that was completely vacant two years ago as the pandemic hammered Chicago’s most famous shopping strip.

Alo Yoga announced plans to open a store in the four-story building at 717 North Michigan Avenue, Crain’s reported. The Los Angeles-based athleisure company is leasing 8,000 square feet, a small portion of a 61,600-square-foot building that had been leased by the Disney Store until it left in 2021, leaving the building empty.

Acadia announced the new lease during its quarterly earnings report this week.

“This lease as well as other current activity is a very strong sign of support for this important corridor that has been struggling,” Acadia President and CEO Kenneth Bernstein said in a conference call.

While the lease may be small, it’s still good news for the Mag Mile, which experienced a mass exodus of retail tenants after the pandemic increased the popularity of online shopping and left physical stores empty with dim prospects of getting refilled. The Gap, Macy’s, Banana Republic and Uniqlo were among some of the bigger names that left the Mag Mile with a high 28.5 percent vacancy rate, almost double what it was before the pandemic.

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“Demand thankfully is starting to come back on North Michigan Avenue, and I don’t want to pretend that it’s easy or mission accomplished,” Bernstein said. “But we’re having retailers now show up that a year ago, we wouldn’t have thought of.”

Last year, candy store It’Sugar leased 11,400 square feet on a short-term deal in the Acadia-owned building that Alo is entering. And crystal and jewelry maker Swarovski leased a small boutique, while Canadian women’s apparel chain Aritzia last year signed the largest retail lease on the Mag Mile since 2015 when it rented the former Gap building.

Bernstein said Alo was shopping the space for almost a year. It will add to the two other Chicago-area stores it has, one at the Oakbrook Center mall and the other at Westfield Old Orchard Mall in Skokie.

“Their business is booming,” Bernstein said on the call. “They wanted a flagship location and notwithstanding all of the challenges that Chicago has gone through, it is still one of those Midwestern meccas, and North Michigan Avenue, while it’s going to take some work, is starting to attract those tenants again.”

 — Victoria Pruitt

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