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Faced with rising rental rates, Rittenhouse Row's iconic indie designer boutiques are being priced out of the area, a topic raised today by Inquirer fashion columnist Elizabeth Wellington. Knit Wit was the first mainstay to raise the white flag, swapping its 17th and Walnut Street space (now Intermix) for a spot one block north on Chestnut. Adresse followed suit earlier this year, owner Stef Lutzo solemnly trading in her tony Locust Street address for a less luxe storefront in Old City.
An influx of big-name retailers (Apple, Ulta, Stuart Weitzman, Madewell, Theory, Camper) is to blame for the Walnut Street rental hike, which demands retailers cough up as much as $34,000 per month for a 2,500-square-foot store—a price tag that doesn't leave much opportunity for the little guy.
This leads us to our question: When Walnut Street staple Joan Shepp, the last of Rittenhouse Row's remaining designer mainstays, vacates the corridor in September, will Walnut Street have officially jumped the shark? While great for the economy and those seeking the convenience of mall shopping in a downtown setting, is Walnut Street's transformation the nail in the coffin for Rittenhouse Row's indie shopping scene? Will you still shop there? Cast your vote in the poll, and sound off in the comments.
· K of P Downtown [philly.com]
· Trend Piece: Chains Swamping Walnut Street Due to High Rent [Property]