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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

STORE—Hilfiger’s Vacant Rodeo Site Faces Leasing Pressure

Tommy Hilfiger Corp. has vacated Rodeo Drive’s largest store, and the company is now faced with the daunting task of finding another tenant to take over its $1.5 million-per-year lease.

With consumers putting the brakes on shopping, some industry observers are viewing the 18,000-square-foot store as something of an albatross.

“It’s a tough number to sell,” said John Carroll, owner of Carroll & Co., a men’s store that occupied the Hilfiger site before the decades-old structure was torn down and rebuilt. “It’s too big for most specialty stores. Someone like The Gap could take it, but they aren’t going to pay the rent.”

While some real estate experts believe the space will have to be broken up and rented out as two or three stores, others maintain that there are some high-end retailers eager to establish a large presence on one of the world’s most famous shopping routes.

Observers have seen designer Donna Karan checking out the store, which Hilfiger built in 1997 for around $20 million on a ground lease with property owner the Anderson Family Trust. Sources also said that Italian designer Roberto Cavalli has also expressed interest in the space.

Gilbert Dembo, the real estate broker hired to find a tenant for the gargantuan Hilfiger location, would not reveal who is checking out the trellis-laced store on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Rodeo. But he did say there are a few contenders who may be ready to move.

“Right now we have several people looking at it,” he said. “They are people looking at the entire space. I think we’ll have a commitment in the next 60 days.”

The general view is that any new occupant of the two-story structure would want to remodel the building’s white neoclassical exterior and redecorate the interior. “You won’t find any retailer that will keep the store in its current fashion,” said broker Matthew May of May Realty Advisors. “Anybody who is going to go into a store of that caliber will want to have their own presence and create their own identity.”

While Hilfiger is bowing out from the retail lineup on Rodeo Drive, several high-end newcomers, such as Brioni, Valentino, and Christian Dior, are getting ready to move into new stores.

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