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Mayor: Macy’s considering leaving Water Tower Place

Chicago Tribune

Aug 14, 2020 4:15 PM

People pass Macy's along North Michigan Avenue at Water Tower Place on May 8, 2018.

People pass Macy’s along North Michigan Avenue at Water Tower Place on May 8, 2018. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)

Macy’s is considering leaving its store in Water Tower Place, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at a Friday news conference.

Lightfoot, who announced increased security measures in the Loop this weekend after unrest earlier in the week, pushed back when asked about a report suggesting recent looting was a factor in the retailer’s potential exit.

Hundreds of people smashed windows and looted stores along Michigan Avenue and other parts of the Loop early Monday morning, marking the second time this summer retailers in the downtown shopping districts were targeted.

“My understanding is that Macy’s notified the property owners at Water Tower back in February that they probably were not going to renew their lease,” Lightfoot said.

Reporting suggesting the move was a reaction to the unrest is “just simply false,” she said.

Crain’s reported Thursday that Macy’s was considering leaving its location in the North Michigan Avenue mall or reducing the size of its store.

Brookfield Properties, which owns Water Tower Place, referred a request for comment to Macy’s, which did not respond.

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Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd, said Thursday he was aware Macy’s was in negotiations with Brookfield Properties over the terms of its lease for several weeks, but wasn’t sure of the status of those negotiations.

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Retailers have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced retailers deemed nonessential to close stores to shoppers. In June, Macy’s announced plans to cut thousands of corporate and management jobs and reduce the number of employees in its stores, supply chain and customer support network while sales recover.

Macy’s was planning to close stores before the pandemic hit. In February, the department store chain said it would close 125 of its weakest stores over the next three years.

If Macy’s does leave Water Tower Place, it would be “a significant blow,” said Magnificent Mile Association chairman Rich Gamble, speaking at Friday’s news conference.

Gregory Pratt and Jeremy Gorner contributed.

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