News & Articles : American Statesman

Urban Outfitters to Open Downtown Store in W Hotel Complex

Posted on April 28, 2011 in

By Shonda Novak, American Statesman

Urban Outfitters will open a store in downtown Austin in August, in the W Austin Hotel and Residences development north of City Hall.

The popular purveyor of clothing, accessories and “apartment wares” that targets 18-to-30-year-olds will open a 9,931-square-foot street-level store, below the new Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater venue.

Beau Armstrong, CEO of developer Stratus Properties Inc., said Urban Outfitters’ “cutting edge” brand and products will complement both the W project and the larger Second Street district.

Urban Outfitters also has a store on Guadalupe Street near the University of Texas.

The new lease is for 10 years.

“We just really felt that was the perfect retailer for the block,” Armstrong said. “They’re well-run, so at a pure economic level, they’re a great tenant business-wise. Layer that with a W and all the things going on in the district, and we feel they’re a very compatible tenant for Second Street. Their product line and their corporate philosophy fits well with the W brand and with Austin.”

Armstrong also noted that music is a big part of Urban Outfitters’ in-store culture, another way it fits with the block housing the new studios for KLRU’s “Austin City Limits.”

Urban Outfitters joins nearly 60 other retailers in downtown’s Second Street district, which includes shops, restaurants and entertainment attractions, including the Violet Crown Cinema, an art-house movie theater that opens Friday.

“Although our locally owned businesses are our foundation, the presence of a major national retailer will only further energize the district,” said Julie Sutton-McGurk, retail marketing manager for the district.

“We’re looking forward to the energy and the foot traffic, but I also think it will give our very loyal and conscious patrons of the Second Street district brand yet another fun experience. We’re thrilled about it.”

Rance Wilemon and Sue Wasserman, brokers who own Plat.Form Real Estate, represented Stratus in the Urban Outfitters lease.

Wilemon said the retailer will act as a “mini anchor,” drawing shoppers and families alike.

“Urban (Outfitters) caters to a younger demographic, and we are excited to get their customer down to Second Street,” Wilemon said. Urban Outfitters “speaks to the Austin culture and will bring other like-minded retailers downtown,” he said.

Armstrong and others say that Urban Outfitters’ arrival helps validate downtown as a viable retail market.

“The urban market is hot, desirable, and this deal continues to prove that downtown Austin is the place to be, whether you are a local, regional or national store,” said Molly Alexander, associate director of the Downtown Austin Alliance, a group whose mission includes recruiting retailers to downtown.