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VOL. 124 | NO. 206 | Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saddle Creek Lands High-End Women’s Clothing Store

By Eric Smith

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Anthropologie, a high-end retailer of apparel and other items, is coming to The Shops of Saddle Creek in Germantown.

Though a lease hadn’t been inked by press time Monday, the company will soon begin tenant improvements for the bays that housed the former Yia Yia’s Euro Café and Divine Rags on the southwest end of Saddle Creek North.

Anthropologie, a brand of Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters Inc., has filed a $1.1 million building permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to remodel two Saddle Creek storefronts totaling 10,296 square feet.

The arrival of Anthropologie is good news for Saddle Creek, which has seen tenants such as Yia Yia’s and Talbots men’s store shutter their doors in the past year or so in response to the poor economy.

This is Anthropologie’s first Memphis-area store. Anthropologie, whose corporate headquarters is in Trenton, S.C., has nearby stores in Nashville and Ridgeland, Miss., outside Jackson.

The store bills itself as a boutique specializing in women’s clothing, shoes and bags, and jewelry and accessories. It also sells home decor products, including bedding, bath, furniture and kitchen items.

Calls and e-mails to the company for comment on its timeline for opening the store and other details were not immediately returned.

Kenneth Taylor, general manager for The Shops of Saddle Creek, whose management and leasing company is Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., said a lease has not yet been signed and therefore wouldn’t confirm that Anthropologie is definitely moving into Saddle Creek. But he did say that a deal with the retailer appears imminent.

“We are expecting it any day now,” Taylor said.

He also confirmed that Anthropologie has been eyeing the 6,480-square-foot bay that once housed Yia Yia’s and the 3,816-square-foot bay that once housed Sharper Image and more recently Divine Rags. That store recently relocated to Saddle Creek South in the former Talbots Kids space, two doors down from the Talbots women’s store, Taylor said.

Anthropologie’s permit is described as a “full remodel of existing tenant space”; it is listed for 7509 U.S. 72 (Poplar Ave.), but that is the address of Saddle Creek’s management office, Taylor noted.

Scott Barton, senior vice president of retail services for CB Richard Ellis Memphis, also heard the deal was close to getting done and lauded the arrival of a store like Anthropologie for Germantown’s premier shopping center.

“That’s a big win for Saddle Creek,” said Barton, adding that it also was good news for the local retail sector. “Fashion-forward retailers are not expanding every day. These deals just don’t fall out of the sky like they used to.”

Barton said Saddle Creek was a good fit for Anthropologie, which would draw the same clientele that already shops in the center.

Saddle Creek opened in 1987. It sits on 16.66 acres and has 40 stores. The center’s gross leasable area is 142,876 square feet and is about 90 percent occupied.

“It definitely fits in well with the demographic of Germantown, Collierville and the other retailers that are there,” Barton said.

Germantown's 3.6 million square feet of retail space has a vacancy rate of 10.7 percent, which is the same rate for the Memphis metropolitan area's 41.2 million square feet, according to third quarter data from CBRE. Germantown’s averaging asking lease rate of $16.06 per square foot annually is well above the metro area’s average of $10.78.

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