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PHILADELPHIA-An 8,700-sf Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture showroom is opening at 1308 Chestnut St. Later this year, West Elm, the upscale, modern affiliate of Pottery Barn, plans to open in 19,000 sf at 1330 Chestnut, while Lucky Strike, the Los Angeles-based bowling alley/lounge, expects to move into a similar-size space on the floor above West Elm in the former Woolworth building.

“Retail continues to drive eastward as strong regional players and others want to be part of the Downtown environment,” says Lisa Drake, a broker for Conshohocken-based Fameco Real Estate. Drake negotiated the MG + BW lease for the store, which will be operated by Bruce Levy and Karen Spewak, who are based here. The building owner is Samson Asset Management.

Taylorsville, NC-based Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams now has approximately 12 locations nationwide. This is its first in the Philadelphia area, but Drake says others are being planned in the Greater Delaware Valley. “It’s always been a challenge to find furnishings with real style that are affordably priced in this city,” says Levy. “We just know this can fly in Philadelphia.”

“East of Broad has long been a risk for retailers,” Drake tells GlobeSt.com, “but demand for retail is driving east.” She points to the renovation of the historic Victory Building into luxury residential condos with a Starbucks on the ground floor at 10th and Chestnut, and says an Indian restaurant, which she can’t yet identify, is taking space at Ninth and Chestnut.

With increased demand comes a rise in rental rates. While she declines to disclose the value of the MG + BW lease, she says, “the asking rates along this stretch of Chestnut are from $30 per sf to $35 per sf, about a 30% increase over the past year.”

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