By  on March 19, 2009

Anthropologie is thinking big in Beverly Hills.

The more sophisticated sibling of Urban Outfitters this month launched a 16,000-square-foot, two-floor unit on South Beverly Drive, enlarging on its former 10,000-square-foot space on North Beverly Drive.

“Opening stores right now is a challenge for anyone, but this is a relocation for us in an already-successful geographic area,” said chief operating officer Wendy Brown. “Los Angeles, and California as a whole, is one of our top markets.”

The store will have some exclusive merchandise, including dresses from designer Guy Baxter for about $300 and an expanded collection of vintage and reproduced jewelry. Products range from $6 mugs to $178 shoes and a $10,000 antique table.

The space features skylights and clerestory windows, recycled wood floors, white lacquered steel beams and large glass enclosed bookcases lining a central staircase.

The larger space allowed Anthropologie to expand the on-site inventory 10 to 15 percent and add seven dressing rooms, for a total of 17.

Each of the chain’s 121 stores in the U.S. — 28 in California — are a mix of produced furniture, limited quantity designs and one-of-a-kind pieces that Anthropologie buyers shop for at overseas flea markets, antique shops and estate sales.

The South Beverly Drive neighborhood has a decidedly pedestrian atmosphere, with some small boutiques and restaurants and cafes lining the approximate three-block stretch, including the original California Pizza Kitchen. Anthropologie represents the first major apparel chain to join the enclave’s tenant mix.

“They’re a huge, stable brand that can make the difference on a street,” said Jay Luchs, a real estate broker involved in the Anthropologie lease.

The brand came close to leasing a space on Melrose Avenue before settling on the Beverly Hills address, which is being rented for 10 years at $6 a square foot on the lower level and $3 a square foot on the second floor. The space took almost a year to design and remodel, a process made more expensive than usual because of the interior teardown required.

Despite a dismal overall retail forecast for the year, Wade McDevitt, whose firm is the leasing agent for Anthropologie’s new stores and build-outs, said, “I think [the new space] will pay off, it’s a good move. We hope that neighborhood and its vibe will contribute to the success of the store.”

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