Downtown’s high-rise building boom could see another underutilized property give way to something tall as the three-story Gap store at the southeast corner of State and Washington prepares to shut its doors for good. According to DNAinfo, the store at 35 N. State Street. will close on February 23. No specific redevelopment plans have been divulged at this time, but a new tower replacing the 45,000-square-foot structure seems a bit like a no-brainer.
Current owner Georgetown Co. acquired the building six years ago for $23 million when it was anchored by an Old Navy store. At the time, the deal represented the highest per-square-foot sale price for a retail property on State Street. To justify their sizable investment, the New York-based real estate firm would need to eventually replace the building with something tall and lucrative, reported Crain’s in 2011. With Gap’s lease expired, the time for the redevelopment of 35 N. State could be nigh.
While retail has certainly bounced back on State from the lows experienced in the early part of this decade, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Georgetown Co. pursue a high-rise that also serves the Loop’s strong—but increasingly crowded—residential or hospitality market. Office space could potentially make sense for the site, but would face serious competition from a number of better-positioned projects that are actively searching for anchor tenants.
As aptly noted by DNAinfo’s Dave Matthews, the colorful 10-story mural of blues musician Muddy Waters on the neighboring building at 17 N. State would be a casualty should a high-rise replace the Gap. Created by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra in 2016, the mural has been one of the more high-profile additions to the Wabash Arts Corridor.