Daily Record: Retailers are popping up at new Legg Tower
J.S. Edwards has forgone selling its signature suits at its 1,600-square-foot-space in the Legg Mason tower in Harbor East. The clothier is selling casual wear.
It has the high ceilings and warehouse fixtures of an Urban Outfitters store — but for once it’s actually more for function than design.
The new J.S. Edwards store in Harbor East’s Legg Mason tower isn’t going urban after 27 years in Pikesville. But the high-end men’s clothier is the latest Baltimore area shop to join in the “pop-up” store trend.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity to test the harbor waters, so to speak,” owner Edward Steinberg said Wednesday. “The people in the Legg Mason building are our customers. And it’s not just locals; we wanted to see what the tourist traffic would be. … It’s a neat way to introduce yourself to a market that is not familiar with you.”
Pop-up stores have become popular in New York City in recent years, and began making their way south in numbers last holiday season. Some stores only open for a few days — such as Target’s three-day stint in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown last December — and some stay several months.
The J.S. Edwards in Harbor East opened in June and will close on Sept. 1. In the 1,600-square-foot-space, the clothier has forgone selling its men’s suits — the main attraction at its 3,000-square-foot Pikesville location — in favor of selling its casual wear.
“It’s a great model because of the buzz and energy created when a space is constantly changing,” said Christopher Janian, development manager at H&S Properties Development Corp., which is developing the $3 billion Harbor East project with Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse. “The idea of having a store or exhibit whose term is finite creates a sense of urgency.”
The J.S. Edwards store is not the first incarnation of this space that looks out on the traffic circle fed by busy President Street. Before this it was home to a 25-year retrospective exhibit and show by Baltimore-born artist Marque Cornblatt. During the holidays the entire, 7,300-square-foot storefront space was shared by five retailers: dresscode by Gita, Doubledutch Boutique, Di(e)ce Boutique, Shine Collective and Patrick Sutton Home.
The leases are percentage-based, meaning the retailers’ rent is based on a percentage of their sales. The building owner also has a right to recapture the space should it find a permanent tenant. The pop-up store also lets the landlord and the retailer try out their respective products at minimum risk, making it a win-win, said Trout Daniel & Associates Principal Rene Daniel, who helped broker the deal for J.S. Edwards.
“It gives [Steinberg] a look to see whether sportswear would work for him in Harbor East,” Daniel said. “And it gives the landlord a chance to see if that kind of retail works for that space.”
So far, the foot traffic and sales haven’t been overwhelmingly spectacular for the clothier. But they haven’t been poor, either, said Steinberg.
“The tourist season has been OK, but unfortunately the heat has hampered us a bit,” he said. “When it’s 100 degrees out, nobody wants to come out of their hotel room.”
Next door to J.S. Edwards (or on the other side of the curtain hanging from the ceiling), Patrick Sutton Home has enjoyed the space so much the owner stayed on after the holidays and has expanded its pop-up footprint to take up the remainder of the storefront.
After eight years in a Federal Hill townhouse, the retailer and interior design shop has closed its storefront there in favor of trendier — and roomier — waters. According to sales associate Vicki Hopkins, Sutton is looking for a permanent home in Harbor East to house its retail and interior design business (which is still in Federal Hill).
“There’s just more people here and if you have a bigger audience you’re bound to make more sales,” Hopkins said.
Janian said H&S Properties is looking for a permanent tenant to fill the space, but with its appeal as a pop-up storefront, he can afford to be selective.
“It’s really getting the right mix in there so the feeling is not like that of a mall, it’s more like the SoHo shopping experience where it really creates a destination,” he said.
This article was orginally published in the Maryland Daily Record.
Published on: July 29, 2010
By Liz Farmer