By  on January 21, 2008

NEW YORK — After more than 25 years in New York’s West Village, men’s specialty store L’Uomo is packing up and moving out so that retail giant Ralph Lauren can move in.

The 1,600-square-foot space at 383 Bleecker Street, which has housed L’Uomo’s refined assortment of avant-garde men’s wear since 1997, neighbors Ralph Lauren’s Men’s store at 363 Bleecker Street and is located directly across from the retailer’s women’s boutique.

“My lease ends May 1 and that is when Ralph Lauren is going to take it over,” said L’Uomo owner Michael Adjiashvili, “They are paying $50,000 more per month than I am currently paying. We tried to renegotiate the lease but the landlord never gave us a choice.” Ralph Lauren confirmed it was taking over the lease, but refused to disclose what type of Ralph Lauren store would go in the location.

Although L’Uomo will relocate to a larger space on the increasingly hip West 4th Street—home to two new Marc Jacobs stores—the move is yet another indication of Bleecker Street’s retail revival. Once home to a mix of antique stores, ice cream parlors and restaurants, this small Village street has quickly transformed into a magnet for corporate retail giants. Tommy Hilfiger took over the Robert Kree Salon at 375 Bleecker this past summer; Juicy Couture opened its doors at 368 last January; and James Perse opened its first men’s store on 361 Bleecker Street in May. Coach, Miguelina and Steve Madden have also added outposts in the last few months.

“So much has changed over the years, it’s not the same cozy neighborhood it once was,” said Adjiashvili, who took the plunge into men’s wear retailing by opening a small boutique on Bleecker Street in 1982. “It’s too touristy and corporate.”

Adjiashvili called L’Uomo’s relocation to a 2,200-square-foot space at 271 West 4th Street “a fantastic move,” and estimates he will pull in roughly $4 million in sales his first year there—more than he currently generates on Bleecker Street. Adjiashvili will likely open the doors to the new store later this spring or early next fall. Now that he has signed a new lease, Adjiashvili said he is looking forward to a new beginning. His focus for the new and improved L’Uomo? “Upgrading my operation in every aspect.” His plans include adding more high-end and exclusive collections, refining customer service and launching the store’s first Web site.

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