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Barneys New York has finally confirmed the coordinates for their downtown flagship and it is—drumroll, please—their original 1923 Chelsea location. The store spans a majority of Seventh Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets, the same block that Loehmann's will exit in the wake of this week's bankruptcy news, and just around the corner from the shuttered Co-op store. The store will wrap the corner of 16th Street when it opens in 2017.
"The downtown store will have a huge presence with a huge facade and two entrances. Although it's only 57,000 square feet, one-fifth the size of Madison Avenue, if you drive by, it will feel and look like a nice bookend to the uptown flagship," Barneys CEO Mark Lee told WWD.
Inside, shoppers will be treated to five stories, covering 57,000 square feet. The merchandise mix will include both men's and women's designer clothing, shoes, accessories, as well as a Foundation level for cosmetics, skin care, and fragrance, and a Freds restaurant on the top floor. "We're going to be turning brands and designers away because we can't fit everything from Madison in," said Mark Lee, the company's CEO.
Barney Pressman opened his namesake store in 1923 with the $500 he got from pawning his wife's engagement ring. The store sold discounted men's wear Pressman got from sample sales, closeouts, and auctions. His son Fred is responsible for bringing in European designers and shedding the discount roots. Womenswear was introduced in 1976, with a dedicated women's store opened in 1986 in a row of six town houses and two larger adjacent buildings. The flagship closed in 1997 after filing for bankruptcy protection.
Don't expect the new store to be dripping with throwbacks. "There is some charming nostalgia about the Chelsea location. Yes, without a doubt it's sweet, but it's really about the business," said Tom Kalenderian of Barneys. "Men's is the history, but women's is the significant business today. That's a change from the old days," added Lee. "The store is really being built and strategized as a modern investment for a modern downtown."
Inside the renovated UWS store. Photo courtesy of Barneys New York.
For an idea of what the store will look like, search no further than the massive renovations Barneys has been doling out to its Madison Avenue, Upper West Side, and Atlantic Avenue stores, where literal and figurative shopping walls have been taken down. "We're trying to promote more cross-shopping and a store that's really logical and modern. The current expansions and renovations we've done provide an idea of what the new store will look like," said Kalenderian. Lee adds, "Our hallmark is not to chop the store up into shop-in-shops. We're anti-shop-in-shop."
· Going Home Again: Barneys Returning to 17th Street [WWD]
· Big Changes For Barneys, Beginning With UWS Store [Racked NY]
· Barneys Confirms Chelsea Closing and a Possible New Flagship [Racked NY]