For 31 years, Poster Plus was one of the premier shops for buying a Chicago souvenir direct from Michigan Avenue.
But this month, the venerable art dealer announced it's moving from 200 S. Michigan Ave. It couldn't come to terms with the landlord, Philadelphia-based BPG Properties Ltd., over a rent increase, according to David Gartler, the store’s owner.
The store is not alone in facing pressure from rising rental rates on South Michigan Avenue. There are at least four empty retail stores between Monroe Street and Congress Parkway, including one adjacent to Poster Plus where a Potbelly Sandwich Works franchise is slated to move in but has yet to begin construction. Tenants say landlords have proven unwilling to come to terms with smaller clients, however stable their business might be.
The looming question is whether well-heeled chains will drive out the locally-owned independent.Landlords contend that Millenium Park and nearby new developments justify higher rent.
Obviously our dynamic is slightly different in the Sloop. We have vacant retail. Not really local retailers getting pushed out by chains (unless you think Winestyles and South Loop Wine Shop getting pushed out by grocery stores falls into this category). Regardless, the common thread is that the prices being asked by the owners seem to be high (or at least that's what we've heard from various people in the Sloop).
Let us know your thoughts...
(Image from Medil Reports)
(Hat tip: Curbed Chicago!)