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Retailers, restaurants eyeing Hub

Menino promotes city at Vegas event

Steve & Barry's discount chain sells 'Sex and the City' actress Sarah Jessica Parker's clothing line, Bitten. Steve & Barry's discount chain sells "Sex and the City" actress Sarah Jessica Parker's clothing line, Bitten. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press/File 2007)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Jenn Abelson
Globe Staff / May 20, 2008

Popular apparel discounter Steve & Barry's is aggressively scouting Boston locations, including the former Barnes & Noble space in Downtown Crossing, to open a shop in the city within the next two years, according to Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Steve & Barry's executives met yesterday in Las Vegas with Menino, who returned to Sin City for his annual trip to promote the Hub at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention. Founded in 1985, Steve & Barry's operates over 260 stores in 38 states, and has struck partnerships with celebrities, including basketball star Stephon Marbury and fashion icon and actress Sarah Jessica Parker, to offer collections that largely retail for under $10.

"They're serious about coming to Boston soon," Menino said in a phone interview from Vegas. "They are visiting the city in early July to meet with us and look at some sites."

Steve & Barry's recently opened a flagship store in Manhattan on Broadway, a space previously occupied by Tower Records.

"We are looking forward to touring the city of Boston and working with the mayor's office in order to find great locations so that we can best serve our customers," said Doug Calvin, Steve & Barry's director of real estate. "At the moment, we are looking forward to opening our first Boston area location at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers this summer and hope to have more locations to announce over the coming year."

During his Vegas jaunt yesterday, Menino also met with cosmetics giant Ulta which is scoping out space in West Roxbury and Downtown Crossing, including the former HMV record store space on Winter Street. Ulta, one of the largest beauty retailers in the country, is planning to open more than 60 stores this year and dozens more next year, according to Susan Elsbree, a spokeswoman for the Boston Redevelopment Authority who met with store executives.

An Ulta spokeswoman confirmed that the retailer is interested in coming to Boston and discussed several locations with Menino.

Meanwhile, Menino said yesterday that Morton's Restaurant Group Inc., which recently opened a second Boston steakhouse, at the Seaport, is interested in a third location at the redeveloped Filene's complex in Downtown Crossing.

Mike Wood of Tavistock Restaurants also confirmed to Menino yesterday that the company had signed a deal to lease space on the waterfront at the former Jimmy's Harborside Restaurant. Wood, in an interview, said the restaurant group would open ZED 451, a high-end restaurant in 2010 as part of the redeveloped space.

Noodle bar Wagamama, which has opened stores in Faneuil Hall and Harvard Square, is also negotiating for a space in the Prudential Center, in one of the Talbot's clothing stores that is closing.

"We expect to reach a deal soon with the Prudential Center and we're hoping to open within the next year," said Ed McGraw, vice president of development for Wagamama.

Menino also met with Pinkberry, a California-based frozen yogurt franchise, that is eyeing potential locations in the Back Bay, Downtown Crossing, and Fenway areas. Discounter Payless ShoeSource is considering a site in Faneuil Hall and one in Hyde Park, and LA Fitness International is close to signing a deal for a West Roxbury gym off the VFW Parkway, according to Elsbree.

Jenn Abelson can be reached at abelson@globe.com.

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