By  on April 18, 1994

LOS ANGELES -- Now it's Richard Tyler who seems ready to take on Rodeo Drive.

In recent weeks, there have been increasing reports that Calvin Klein might open a store on the fabled shopping street. If that happens, however, he isn't likely to be the only new kid on the block.

Tyler reportedly wants to open a boutique there for his signature collection.

Sources said Tyler looked at several vacancies on Rodeo in late February during his last visit to Southern California and is expected to look again this spring. He could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Ten years ago, Tyler opened a Los Angeles store called Tyler Trafficante on Beverly Boulevard. There, he designed his signature suits in the back of the shop. That store is in an offbeat section of town near coffee houses and antique furniture stores, and quickly attracted a celebrity clientele.

Sources said Tyler is renewing the lease for that location, which he would continue to operate in addition to Rodeo Drive.

Daniel Blatteis, a prominent real estate broker who was involved in bringing Barneys New York to Beverly Hills, acknowledged that he has met with the Tyler Trafficante people recently about Rodeo, but he declined to elaborate.

Herb Fink of the specialty store Theodore said a move by Tyler could help attract other SA heavyweights.

"If he does come, could Donna [Karan] and Calvin [Klein] be far behind?" Fink asked. "It used to be a European street. Now it will be an international street."

Some observers feel Klein will beat Tyler to Rodeo, taking the former Elizabeth Arden space at 434 North Rodeo Drive. Klein has reportedly expressed interest in the space, which almost was leased to Joan & David.

The site is a prestigious one, next to Giorgio Armani. It's been vacant for four years and was last occupied by Elizabeth Arden, which is subleasing the space.

The Calvin Klein store would reportedly be owned and operated by Yousef Tar, a Los Angeles-based retailer, who owns 26 Bernini men's wear stores, primarily in the West, and is opening a store in Atlanta this month. He also operates the Gianni Versace and Versus boutiques in the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas. Versus is Versace's secondary women's line.Four of the Bernini men's wear shops are on Rodeo Drive.

Tar and Klein could not be reached for comment Friday.

Speculation about Klein's retail plans in Los Angeles began about six months ago when he was spotted scouting Rodeo Drive. He has visited the area at least twice in the last year.

The space he reportedly selected has about 17,500 square feet, providing enough room for Klein to sell his collection and CK lines. It is one of the last large available spaces on Rodeo.

Reportedly, the designer beat out Joan & David for the site. Joan & David is said to be now looking at alternatives on the street, including the old Channel space at the corner of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way, across from Fred Hayman Beverly Hills and Two Rodeo Drive.

Others, including Fila and Ermenegildo Zegna, have also expressed interest in that space.

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