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PHILADELPHIA-Vernon, CA-based True Religion Apparel Inc. has signed a lease for 1,600 sf at 1604 Walnut St. The space is currently occupied by T-Mobile, which is relocating to 1500 Walnut St.

Although it’s a small space, it represents a significant addition to Center City retail, once considered lackluster and stodgy, which is now taking a turn toward trendy, particularly along the stretch known as Rittenhouse Row. This follows a lease from Guess Inc. for two floors at 1520 Walnut, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. Rittenhouse Row stretches from Broad Street west to Rittenhouse Square.

Steve Gartner, president of Conshohocken-based Metro Commercial, represented True Religion in the lease negotiations. “Philadelphia used to get retailers after they’d expanded to other areas,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “True Religion chose this location early in its expansion. They not only identified Philadelphia as a key market, but they also really liked great streets. While they go into malls,” he adds, “they want great streets in great cities.”

Speaking of the Center City district near Rittenhouse Square in a statement, Jeffrey Lubell, True Religion’s chairman and CEO, says “this district is an ideal environment for us to continue generating awareness of the True Religion brand, as well as positioning ourselves among the sophisticated and affluent customer base in the Philadelphia area.”

Gartner declined to disclose the value of the lease or the rent rate, but says “it is certainly a premium rent.” In general, he adds, “it’s pretty much impossible to find space in this corridor that is not in triple digits at ground level.” Locally based Michael Salove Co. represented the building owner, National Realty Corp., which is also based here.

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