Chicago brokers scramble to fill prime Foxtrot locations left vacant 

Upscale convenience store’s abrupt exit could allow landlords to raise rents amid high retail demand

Retail Brokers Scramble to Fill Closed Foxtrot Stores in Chicago
Foxtrot Hubbard, Wicker Park and Southport (Google Maps)

The abrupt closure of all Foxtrot Market stores last month created a wave of real estate opportunities across Chicago, with retailers chomping at the bit to fill empty storefronts in prime locations.

Foxtrot, known for its upscale convenience stores, sent shockwaves throughout the retail sector when it shuttered its 33 locations nationwide, leaving perishables to rot and its employees scrambling to find new jobs.

While the closures delivered a blow to an already struggling retail market in Chicago, where it had 15 locations, it also put 51,000 square feet of prime real estate on the market, Bisnow reported

The closed Chicago stores, averaging about 3,400 square feet, are especially appealing to prospective tenants due to their “solid locations” in densely populated neighborhoods, Stone Real Estate’s John Vance told the outlet. 

Experts anticipate a scramble among potential tenants to secure these coveted spaces, with food and beverage retailers emerging as prime candidates. The areas in which the former Foxtrot stores are located enjoy low retail vacancy rates, possibly allowing landlords to raise rents amid surging demand. 

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However, the diversity of submarkets may lead to varied uses for the spaces.

“Every ownership group is going to have a different motivation driver as it relates to the decision they make on who the ultimate user is that fills that space,” CBRE’s Danny Jacobson said.

Foxtrot’s closure not only marks the end of a promising venture but also hints at underlying financial struggles. Despite raising $160 million in venture capital funding, the company reportedly fell short of its sales goals and faced mounting financial pressure. A merger with Dom’s Kitchen & Market aimed to stabilize finances but ultimately couldn’t forestall the inevitable.

As the dust settles, former employees allege mismanagement and violation of worker protection laws, while suppliers seek recourse for unpaid bills. Meanwhile, Foxtrot’s creditor, JPMorgan Chase, is moving to recoup its investment through a foreclosure sale, the outlet reported.

—Quinn Donoghue 

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