About two dozen empty storefronts line the Country Club Plaza.
Recent losses include such big-name brands as Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Brighton Collectibles.
Local home décor and furnishings retailer RE: is about to go dark, leaving behind a 21,274-square-foot space at 4704 Wyandotte St. The former t.Loft space, which sits on a prime corner spot, hasn’t been filled since the local eatery opted to not renew its lease in 2020 because of business challenges.
“As an owner, I’ve never been more worried about the Plaza,” Drake Development LLC President Matt Pennington said. “You see all the big names going away. It’s going to have a domino effect because big names draw in big names. Additional people will fall out. … I’m passionate about this. I’m living it. I’m breathing it every day, and it’s tough to watch.”
Pennington is part of JH Investors LLC, a group that’s redeveloping the 62,600-square-foot Jack Henry Building at 612 W. 47th St.
In addition to fitness anchor tenant Chiefs Fit, the group plans to fill the space with restaurants, retail and an entertainment-style tenant similar to Punch Bowl Social. (Punch Bowl Social was to occupy 21,000 square feet in the building before filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2020.)
Pennington expects every tenant will be up and running by the first quarter of 2023.
Some of the big-name closings — Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Brighton Collectibles — were expected, said Bill Taubman, COO of Taubman Centers, which co-owns the 15-block shopping center district with The Macerich Co. The three retailers adopted a new strategy that reduces the number of full-priced stores and instead focuses on their discounted, outlet presences, he said.