By  on May 18, 2007

De Beers LV, the international jeweler and luxury diamond retailer, has signed a lease for a flagship at 185 Post Street in San Francisco's Union Square.

De Beers will be competing for its share of the luxury market with Tiffany, Shreve & Co., Gump's, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Burberry, as well as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's. Barneys New York plans to open just off the Union Square retail hub, at 48 Stockton Street. Rents run from $350 to $450 a square foot in Union Square, and have been increasing at 15 to 20 percent a year for the prime corners, said James Downey, senior director, national retail for Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm that represents De Beers in finding sites and negotiating leases.

"Union Square continues to build as the center for luxury retail within San Francisco and the Northern California market," Downey said.

De Beers signed a lease for 4,700 square feet in the renovated Post Street building. There is a 3,200-square-foot ground level, which has an 18-foot-high ceiling, and a 1,500-square-foot lower level. The building is part of a retail and office development at Post Street and Grant Avenue. The store is expected to open in October or November. C&W executives David Green and Kazuko Morgan also represented De Beers in the lease negotiation with the building's owner, Grosvenor, an international property group.

"De Beers will continue to identify and secure these types of prestigious locations as it expands its retail presence throughout the U.S.," Downey said. He cited Tysons Galleria in McLean, Va., and the Houston Galleria for 2007 openings, and added there could be an opportunity in the Dallas market next year. De Beers recently opened in Las Vegas and operates units on New York's Fifth Avenue and Los Angeles' Rodeo Drive.

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