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Eleven years after filling Viacom's vacant spot, Ann Taylor has announced that it will be leaving its Michigan Avenue outpost when its lease expires in 2012. In an attempt to restructure its real estate, Ann Taylor is hoping to focus on smaller, more intimate stores. And, with a shop nearby at Water Tower Place and a handful of other locations downtown, the huge, 10,400 square foot location at 600 North Michigan is set to bite the dust.
Its next door neighbor Levi's hasn't been spared from the dwindling economy, either. The denim company, which has supported a similar plan with its upcoming pared-down shop in New York's Meatpacking District, is looking to downsize and rent out a third of its current space. Levi's will remain off of Michigan Avenue, but will be operating with 5,143 less square footage than before.
With Topshop claiming Borders' old land and making Chicago the move-to city, the guessing game begins for who will fill Ann Taylor's prime spot. Uniqlo, the successful Japanese shop focused on closet staples and quality materials has only expanded into the US in one location, and Chicago could be a perfect second stop. Urban Outfitters is a contender too, as the nearest location is over half a mile away and its parent company just bumped Anthroplogie up to a larger locale. Whatever it is, let's just cross our fingers and hope we don't end up with a massive, oversized frozen-yogurt-by-the-ounce dessert buffet.
· Ann Taylor closing flagship, Levi's shrinking on Mag Mile [Chicago Real Estate Daily]