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Expert Commentary: What Makes These 4 Retail Corridors Desirable

Chicago Retail

With over 500M SF of space, Chicago is the country’s largest retail market. A recent JLL report highlighted four corridors retailers should plant a stake in. We spoke with four of the city’s best retail brokers about why these hot spots are so desirable.

1. Rush Street, between Walton and Cedar


Dominated by luxury, high-end retailers and restaurants, average asking rents here are over $200/SF. Golub SVP John Ferguson says Rush Street is one of the densest residential neighborhoods in Chicago, with the ideal demographics and foot traffic to succeed. John says retailers have a natural aversion to high rents, and those targeting Rush Street need to know their target markets or else they may not find the sales margins they need to be successful.

2. North, Clybourn and Halsted


This corridor’s status as a hot submarket was cemented years ago by the opening of the Lincoln Park Apple Store (shown) and the renovated North/Clybourn “L” station. Rents here are reaching $70/SF. Sedgwick Properties president Marty Paris says the delivery of the NewCity mixed-use development will bring more shoppers to the area and would be ideal for national chain retailers, which already pepper the submarket. The intersection’s proximity to public transit and the expressway are also positives.

3. North, Milwaukee and Damen


This once gritty part of town is now a mix of trendy names and local retailers seeking small shop space, with rents for prime locations hovering around $80/SF. Sperry Van Ness adviser Charles Gibbs says Damen Avenue, in particular, has become a high-fashion street with retailers like Lululemon, Marc Jacobs and Nike with shops in the area, sharing foot traffic with boutique bridal and dress shops. Charles says the look and feel of the neighborhood’s vintage buildings are a major attraction for retailers. Milwaukee Avenue is the city’s busiest bike corridor and it runs right through the center of the submarket. The Damen Avenue Blue Line “L” station allows people to live and shop in the area without a car.

4. Fulton Market, between Halsted and Ogden


rash of office development led by Google’s 1K Fulton HQ, and a flurry of multifamily development, has Fulton Market primed to be a true live/work/play neighborhood. Retail rents average around $60/SF. NGKF executive managing director Greg Kirsch says boutique hotels like Soho House Chicago and the upcoming Ace Hotel will deliver huge foot traffic to the area moving forward, and the submarket’s world-renowned restaurant district along Randolph Street will have it trending more toward culinary tourism for national and international travelers. Greg says the future of the submarket will depend on price and position, and if Fulton or Randolph will be the area's retail epicenter moving forward. Greg believes the latter seems more interesting from a national retailer’s perspective.