Dresner, who 28 years ago opened her namesake downtown shop on West Maple Road, announced the closure earlier this week. The shop is in a desirable spot, called one of the gateways to downtown Birmingham by Southfield-based real estate broker Angela Thomas.
Robert Gibbs, managing principal of Birmingham-based Gibbs Planning Group, said he’s aware of a dozen of the “most sought-after fashion, home furnishings, children’s and specialty lifestyle retailers” focusing on opening flagship stores in downtown Birmingham.
“… and I expect the Dresner building to have multiple opportunities to land such a store,” Gibbs said.
The downtown Birmingham retail market is performing far better than the region overall. The vacancy rate is just 1.6 percent, compared to 5.7 percent across metro Detroit, according to CoStar Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based real estate information service.
The average rent is $29.49 per square foot per year in downtown Birmingham, compared to $16.23 per square foot across the region.
Thomas, with Signature Associates Inc., said soft-goods retailers like clothiers, jewelers or furniture stores would make a good fit for the Linda Dresner space. But its 5,000-square-foot or so footprint may pose a not-insurmountable challenge. “The size is both too big and too small,” Thomas said. “The sweet spot is that 1,500 to 2,000 square feet. For the larger format, the West Elms of the world need 10,000 square feet.”