Louis Boston to Relocate

Joni Mitchell sang about paving paradise to put up a parking lot.

BOSTON — Joni Mitchell sang about paving paradise to put up a parking lot. At a press conference Thursday to reveal Louis Boston’s new location, owner Debi Greenberg joked about putting paradise on a parking lot.

This story first appeared in the October 16, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Greenberg will build a two-story, 20,000-square-foot contemporary store at Fan Pier, a 21-acre swath of South Boston waterfront gradually being redeveloped from parking wasteland to new luxury neighborhood. The store will open in the spring, at which time Greenberg will shutter her Newbury Street store after more than 20 years anchoring Boston’s main shopping thoroughfare.

The first unit on the site will be a permanent tent with a 10-year lease. Clad in vertical cedar siding with water-facing walls of steel-framed glass and an open-plan interior, the store will sit across the Fort Point Channel in close proximity to the Financial District. Greenberg believes the lure of the waterfront setting, and burgeoning restaurant scene, will make Louis a destination. Newcomer The Achilles Project, which paired similarly high-end apparel with a popular restaurant in South Boston, folded earlier this year, but Greenberg has a well-established, affluent clientele she’s counting on bringing with her.

As Fan Pier is built in stages — the master plan calls for eight towers — Louis will either relocate roughly 100 feet north, also overlooking the water, or have its structure integrated into a tower as the ground floors, said developer Joe Fallon. The Louis store will be Fan Pier’s third structure, following the Institute of Contemporary Art, which opened in 2006, and One Marina Dive, an 18-story office tower with ground-floor retail, opening early next year. Fan Pier also has a deep-water marina, harbor walk and park, all nearing completion.

At 40,000 square feet, Louis Boston’s current location is one of the largest retail spaces on Newbury, but Greenberg, who owns half the building, said she has not yet inked a deal to sell or to bring in a tenant.

The Fan Pier store will replicate the same mix of categories as the Back Bay store, including men and women’s apparel, home decor, footwear and accessories, and also will house the Mario Russo hair salon and a second-floor restaurant. Greenberg described the new aesthetic as akin to “someone’s loft with a lot of great clothes,” and cited The Apartment, the Manhattan shop staged as a home where everything’s for sale, as one piece of inspiration.

For her spring buy, she has opted for a slightly more casual aesthetic, including lots of sunglasses, and a smattering of new lines — James Perse for women and The Row and Peter Pilotto for men. Still, Louis Boston’s major focus will remain on stocking hard-to-find pieces from emerging talents such as Lyn Devon, Brian Reyes and others.