ARMANI HEADING SOUTH ON MADISON AND SEEKING SITE IN SAN FRANCISCO

Byline: Sharon Edelson

NEW YORK--Giorgio Armani is moving to larger quarters further down Madison Avenue and is also looking for space on San Francisco's Union Square. The designer has signed a lease for a two-level, 12,000-square-foot space at 754-760 Madison Ave. on the northwest corner of East 65th Street. It will replace the 7,200-square-foot shop at 815 Madison Ave., near East 68th Street.
The new store, scheduled to open in spring 1996, will carry Armani's Via Borgonuovo collection and Le Collezioni. The men's collection will also be carried, along with accessories, shoes, lingerie, eveningwear and fragrance. It is being designed by Peter Marino.
The San Francisco store will be the seventh Armani shop in the U.S. Other Armani boutiques are in Palm Beach, Fla.; Manhasset on Long Island, N.Y.; Chicago; Beverly Hills, and Boston.
An Armani spokeswoman said the company has narrowed its search in San Francisco, but that a lease has not been signed yet. However, according to a source, "the basic deal has been agreed upon." Armani has reportedly been interested in a building at 278 Post St. in San Francisco. Nike Town and Cole-Hahn stores are opening there this year, but there are still about 8,000 square feet of space available in the building.
Kathy Stevenson, vice president of La Salle Partners, an owner of the property, said, "We are talking to a number of exciting, high-fashion tenants. We are in the midst of lively, heated discussions."
She declined to be more specific.
A parade of large, entertainment-oriented stores is bringing a more casual flavor to the upscale Union Square shopping district and putting a squeeze on retail space. A Borders superstore, Planet Hollywood and Disney are set to open soon.
According to retail experts, the few available spaces left on Union Square include the I. Magnin building--which, at 230,000 square feet, would be too large for Armani unless it was divided--and the 20,000-square-foot Eddie Bauer building at 220 Post St., which Bauer is vacating for the old Gumps building at 250 Post St. As reported, Barneys New York is interested in opening in San Francisco, possibly on Union Square.
Sources said there will be some space available in the old Gumps building after Bauer moves in.
Armani opened a 3,300-square-foot A/X unit on Union Street, in the trendy Cow Hollow district of San Francisco in August 1993. The company opened a 12,000-square-foot Emporio unit on Grant Avenue, several blocks from Union Square, in September 1992.

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