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State Street to get 15,000 Square-Foot Under Armour store
Article originally appeared in Wisconsin State Journal; written by, BARRY ADAMS firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the few remaining empty parcels on State Street is being filled and in a big way.
A 5,000-square-foot building is under construction on what had been a small vacant lot in the 600 block of State Street between City Bar and Urban Outfitters. The building is being constructed by M&A CP Towers, owner of The Towers, a student apartment building at North Frances and State streets, and will be occupied by an Under Armour Brand House.
The athletic apparel company, which will become an official provider to University of Wisconsin Athletics in July, has four outlet stores in the state, but this will be the company’s first Brand House in Wisconsin. The location at 610 State St. near UW-Madison was one of the selling points for the company. It will include 5,300 square feet at street level with another 10,000 square feet in an existing basement used for sales floor and storage.
“The 5,300 square feet on the street is key for us,” said Jeff Ruback, Under Armour’s senior director of North American Retail Real Estate. “Having the partnership with UW, we thought it would be great to be right on State Street, basically a block from campus. We thought it would be just great synergy. We could pick a mall anywhere in the country but then it’s just another mall, whether it’s East Towne, West Towne or Hilldale. This is going to be something cool and special.”
The property is just feet from Campus Sports Wear and across the street from State Street Brats and the Colectivo Coffee shop on the east side of Frances Street.
Susan Schmitz, president of Downtown Madison Inc., calls the project a perfect location for Under Armour considering the nearby student populations and young professionals that are flooding new downtown apartments. She does not feel that the retailer will throw off the mix of local and national retailers.
“State Street and the Capitol Square are still 86 percent local,” Schmitz said. “There aren’t a lot of larger spaces for a store like that so they’re having to build it. And they’re building it in a place where there was nothing. It really won’t throw off the balance. We have so many local businesses, that we’re lucky to have.”
The store also brings another shopping destination to the street that is proliferated with restaurants and bars.
“If you talk to the local business owners, especially local clothiers, they are thrilled when a place like that comes in,” Schmitz said. “It just brings more people, which is what you want. You want more traffic on the street because then there’s more potential for more business.”
Under Armour, based in Baltimore, has 12 Brand Houses around the country after it opened five stores in 2015, including a 30,000-square-foot, two-level store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Earlier this year, it added stores in Las Vegas and Glendale, California, and has plans to open another six to 10 stores this year, said Ruback, a former executive with Oshkosh B’Gosh.
Plans call for the Madison store to be open by September.
“We’re not trying to take over State Street,” Ruback said. “We have a lot of (clothing stores) on the street that sell our merchandise and we think it will be complimentary to them. We’re not going to compete with our own partners.”
In October, the UW announced a 10-year, $96-million deal with Under Armour to provide apparel and footwear for the Badgers. The deal, which goes into effect next July, is one of the most lucrative in college sports. It surpasses Under Armour’s previous largest deal — a 10-year, $90-million contract with Notre Dame signed in 2014 — and is believed to be second only to Michigan’s 15-year, $169-million deal signed with Nike in 2015.