Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Disney Store Planned for Chicago's Block 37

Thanks to Diane for pointing out this news.

Block 37 in the Chicago's Loop area of Downtown has a long, checkered history of trying to find a purpose. At one point, it was an ice skating ring, and even had the possibility of having the first ever Harrod's store outside of the UK. That didn't happen and the city block continues to be an empty piece of land.

Now, it appears that thanks to Disney, it may become a major retail area. Disney will be part of a mall space occupying Block 37. And it will be one of the re-imagineered Disney Stores.

Disney executives were not immediately available to comment on the Block 37 deal. In a press release announcing the new store design last week, the company described the concept as "a unique destination developed from a child's perspective" that "integrates the latest technology to create an enhanced shopping experience." One feature of the stores is a "Disney Princess" castle, where a child can wave a magic wand in front of a mirror inside to summon a Disney princess.

The new stores are designed to be more immersive than a traditional retail store, with shoppers interacting with Disney characters or watching film clips in an in-store theater. CB Richard Ellis said the Block 37 location will total 4,464 square feet and anchor the mall's southeast corner on Level 1. Its size will be about 80 percent of that of cosmetics retailer Sephora, which occupies 6,000 square feet.

I was hoping that it would be a World of Disney store, but this is a good second option. I hope they will consider adults and also us Disney pin traders when they design this store. Having periodic pin trading opportunity would be a blast. Too bad I can no longer hop on the Red Line L and get to this place in less than 1/2 hour. Still, driving to the River Road station and getting onto the Blue Line L isn't bad.

So I wonder whether they will keep the current Disney Store on Michigan Ave that's about a mile away. If they close this, I hope they will continue providing Chicago-specific Disney merchandise. Those things are a blast!


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