By  on January 19, 2007

CHICAGO — Marc by Marc Jacobs has found a home here after a more than two-year search.

The company has signed a lease to open a 4,000-square-foot store in the city's eclectic Bucktown neighborhood this summer, making it the first major retailer on a street filled with independent boutiques, trendy restaurants and funky coffee shops.

"I just felt at home," said Robert Duffy, president of Marc Jacobs. "It's just something emotional. I just liked the people I saw. I loved their style. I loved the way they were dressed. "

"All of a sudden you see your customer and you see the person who buys your clothes," he noted.

Duffy was not initially aware that Marc by Marc Jacobs, set for the ground floor of the red-brick building at 1714 North Damen Avenue, will be the street's first national retailer.

"I had no idea if we were or we weren't," he said. "But I like it if we're the only kids on the block."

The corner retail space with high tin ceilings sits next to local jewelry retailer, Gem, below Pagoda Red, an Asian antique dealer, and across the street from Tangerine, a neighborhood favorite for women's apparel.

"It's a groovy neighborhood," said Lorraine Adney, vice president of the McDevitt Co., which represented Marc Jacobs in brokering the deal. "I definitely think it's a good fit."

The store will feature women's, men's and children's apparel along with lifestyle items such as books and accessories.

"It felt like a big schoolroom, like the library in a school," Duffy said. "This one is a blank slate, and I can just have fun with it."

Chicago will join other U.S. Marc by Marc Jacobs stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Savannah, Ga., which is set to open in March.

Retailers in the Bucktown district will be keeping watch on the store's impact given that Marc by Marc Jacobs attracted other major retailers when it opened on New York's Bleecker Street and on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

"I hope no one follows us and we don't change the neighborhood," Duffy said.

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