By  on December 30, 2008

Anthropologie will open its first store in downtown Chicago next fall, a 12,000-square-foot unit at Block 37.

Block 37 is a mixed-use development with residential, hotel, office, retail and entertainment components in downtown Chicago. Anthropologie’s store will occupy the first and second floors of a building that faces State Street and Washington Boulevard. The women’s retailer has six other stores in the greater Chicago area.

The Block 37 site, between a large Macy’s and the Daley Center, has had a somewhat checkered past. The entire block was razed by the city in 1989. The plan was to make Block 37 the centerpiece of a redeveloped North Loop. But, while the rest of the North Loop was redeveloped by the private sector, Block 37 remained unbuilt and an eyesore. Project after project fell through as tenants and financing failed to materialize. Finally, two local developers undertook projects at the site, striking the right balance between office, residential and retail. Golub & Co. built a 17-story office tower and Joseph Freed & Associates is developing the 278,000-square-foot retail area.

In addition to Anthropologie, tenants that have signed leases at Block 37 include Puma, Zara, Lululemon, Steve Madden and Ben Sherman. Entertainment and dining venues will be provided by Muvico Theaters, Rosa Mexicano and Lettuce Entertain You.

In November, Block 37’s largest retail tenant, a 40,000-square-foot David Barton Gym, pulled out of the project. According to Joseph Freed & Associates, the retail portion of Block 37 is more than 50 percent leased.

The Loop itself has become a focus of major retail development, even in the depressed economy. The former Carson’s store, which has been renamed the Sullivan Center, is being renovated for new retail.

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