The most expensive retail street in each of 15 North American cities, based on rent.

The streets below are hard to categorize. Each has popular stores, but each a character all its own. Shopping at Giorgio Armani on quiet tree-lined Newbury Street is quitea different experience from the Armani boutique at the Bellagio on Las Vegas’ neon-lit Strip. Seattle’s 5th Avenue has boutiques and City Centre, a slick urban mall. And Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue was designed by a man with a singular vision. The Spanish-styleshops and courtyards are perfectly suited to the area’s tropical climate and wealthy clientele.


Fifth Avenue, New York

$750 to $1,200 per square foot

Rents on Fifth Avenue are in the $750- to $800-per-square-foot range, but some international retailers have been known to pay much more for a coveted location. Asprey is reportedly paying more than $1,000 per square foot on the ground floor of Trump Tower, where it is expanding an existing location from 9,000 square feet to a 28,000-square-foot flagship that screams "notice me."


Post Street, San Francisco

$400 per square foot

Post Street, one of four streets that border Union Square – a square-block, palm-tree-lined park – has the reputation of being the most exclusive retail location in the city. With names such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Burberry, Tiffany & Co., Giorgio Armani, Bulgari and Cartier, it’s hard to argue otherwise. The Crocker Galleria, at 50 Post Street, houses Nicole Miller, Versace and Polo Ralph Lauren under an elegant glass-domed pavilion.


Michigan Avenue, Chicago

$315 per square foot

There’s a reason Michigan Avenue is called the Magnificent Mile. Stretching from the Chicago River to Oak Street, the avenue has long been a sought-after strip of retail real estate. Vacancy rates on Michigan Avenue this year dropped to 1 percent, the lowest in a decade. Newcomers include Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, Van Cleef & Arpels and Coach. Nordstrom opened two years ago, and a Hard Rock Hotel is under construction.


Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas

$175 per square foot

Gambling isn’t the only game on the Strip anymore. Las Vegas Boulevard, as the Strip is formally known, is a shopper’s paradise with the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian and Desert Passage at the Aladdin. Simon Property Group, which owns the Forum Shops, is betting heavily on retail with a 200,000-square-foot expansion due to open in 2004.


Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles

$170 per square foot

Andy Warhol once referred to Rodeo Drive as a giant butterscotch sundae. He had a point. With its steady stream of Rolls Royces, the high-end street often seems over the top. Celebrity and high fashion collide at stores such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Chanel, Christian Dior, Gucci and Prada, as well as independent institutions like Theodore and Giorgio Beverly Hills.


Newbury Street, Boston

$150 per square foot

On genteel Newbury Street, retailers occupy the lower floors of residential town houses. The first block of Newbury, between Arlington and Berkley Streets, is the most desirable, commanding the highest rents. You’ll find Giorgio Armani, Cartier, Burberry, Chanel and Akris in this vicinity. Mass-appeal merchants such as Virgin Records, Skechers and Steve Madden reside at the opposite end of the street, between Hereford Street and Massachusetts Avenue, where rents dip down to $55.


Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu

$145 per square foot

Tourist-dependent Kalakaua Avenue saw retail rents fall from $190 per square foot in 2001 to slightly less than $145 this year. The premiere luxury shopping route in Waikiki was for years dominated by the Ala Moana Center. Now comes competition from the 2,100 Kalakaua Stores, a $140 million project opening in December. Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent are taking up residence along the block of individual 5,000- to 20,000-square-foot town houses.


Worth Avenue, Palm Beach

$100 per square footArchitect Addison Mizner built the Mediterranean-style shops and apartments that line Worth Avenue in the Twenties. He also built residences for some of the island’s wealthiest families, including the Phippses and Vanderbilts. Upscale retailers have always appreciated Worth Avenue, as evidenced by today’s store roster: Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Max Mara, Cartier, Ferragamo, Martha Phillips, Gucci and Valentino.


Bloor Street, Toronto

$95 per square foot

Bloor Street is Toronto’s toniest shopping district, with stores such as Chanel, Emporio Armani, Hermès, Holt Renfrew, Max Mara, Prada, Versace, Versus, Benetton and Club Monaco. When the film festival’s on, visiting celebs converge on Bloor Street in between screenings and parties.


Robson Street, Vancouver

$90 per square foot

Robson Street was originally called Robsonstrasse by the German settlers who opened small shops, delis and restaurants. It still has a European flavor and retail is international and upscale. Stores such as Chanel, Zegna, Louis Vuitton, Banana Republic, French Connection and Club Monaco coexist with local boutiques and the obligatory Starbucks.


St. Catherine Street, Montreal

$80 per square foot

St. Catherine Street is Montreal’s main shopping drag. Locals lament the demise of venerable department stores such as Eaton and Ogilvy’s — only The Bay remains. Mall staples such as Gap and Timberland have moved in, but St. Catherine retains some local players, such as the largest unit of the home-grown Le Chateau and Influence-U, which sells clubby clothes for men and women.


University Avenue, Palo Alto

$78 per square foot

Tree-lined streets dotted with outdoor cafés describe this quaint university town and its main shopping thoroughfare, University Avenue. The prime shopping mecca here is Stanford Shopping Center, where stores like Polo Ralph Lauren, Max Mara and Brooks Bros. attract heady Stanford types, rich techies, professors and their families.


Main Street, Walnut Creek, Calif.

$50 per square footWalnut Creek is shaping up to be one of the Bay Area’s elite shopping locations. Lined with art galleries, restaurants and stores such as Barnes & Noble, Main Street is getting ready to welcome a 30,000-square-foot Pottery Barn Kids and a 7,000-square-foot Tiffany & Co. in the spring. A 200-year-old oak tree will be preserved as part of the project.


5th Avenue, Seattle

$50 per square foot

Fifth Avenue from Belltown to Pike Place to Harbor Steps has an energy all its own. Small boutiques are clustered on Fifth Avenue near University Street, while City Centre on Union Street is the address of Barneys New York and FAO Schwartz. The large Fifth Avenue Eddie Bauer flagship is a testament to the outdoor spirit of this town.


Prospect Street, LA JOLLA

$48 per square foot

Prospect Street in the upscale enclave of La Jolla, Calif., about a 30-minute drive north of San Diego, boasts Nicole Miller, Polo Ralph Lauren and Armani Exchange. This and emerald-colored cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean is why Prospect Street is sometimes referred to as "the Rodeo Drive of San Diego."


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