The recent Restoration Hardware “Pop-up” warehouse sales caused quite a frenzy in the Park Avenue District and adjacent areas (and subsequently on the corner of Halleck & Sherwin where a delivery contractor has routinely log-jammed the area with trucks). Playing off the success of these events, RH Inc. has submitted an application for a conditional use permit to turn the adjoining Bon Motif & Rug Depot warehouses at 4045 Horton & 4056 Hubbard respectively, into a permanent 55,000 sq. ft. Restoration Hardware Outlet.
Representatives of RH presented plans to the Park Avenue District Committee last week of their intentions to lease & rehabilitate the historic building that is clearly not living up to its potential. The brick building holds a “Tier 2” moderate architectural significance designation which puts restrictions on what can be done to its exterior. RH would maintain the original brick facade and restore the expansive picture windows that are currently obscured by torn & tagged vinyl sale signs. The adjacent orange Bon Motif “Tilt up” warehouse space is not protected in any way.
The 40th street facing side rendering:
The Horton street facing side rendering:
The organization is looking to move away from the strip mall approach that is typical of outlet stores. RH seems to have a track record of taking its building restoration projects seriously with recent highly regarded flagship gallery stores including a previous post office in Greenwich, CT and a natural history museum in Boston (both featured in Architectural Digest).
Outlet stores generally house overstocked, damaged, floor model and returned items. The items stocked will be marked down, but not at the “clearance” sale prices of a Warehouse sale event. Committee members were reassured that as an Outlet, the space would see drastically less traffic than as a Warehouse Sale/Pop-up event. “We experience is an average of ten customer per hour” noted RH Director Rob Eddington “What we estimate in maybe an hour we might experience 15 cars coming in”.
The reaction from the Park Ave Committee members was mostly favorable with the desire to open up the walls on the Horton side to include more windows. Neighborhood businesses in attendance were especially pleased with their intentions to include a lot with as many as 30 parking spaces that would mitigate the current dearth of street parking. The lot entrance would be on the Horton side shown above and the loading area would be accessed through Hubbard.
While it may be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, it’s unclear what the presence of the high-end retailer would have on the neighborhood longterm. Will their presence lure other “high-end” retail to the Park Avenue District? What will this mean for the “locally serving” retail that neighbors would like to see at the forthcoming Sherwin Williams development? RH is pursuing an aggressive timeline to open before the end of the year. Operating hours would be 10am-6pm.
[UPDATE] RH has since pulled their application with the city and the status of the project is currently in limbo.