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Outfitters drawn to Eddy St.

Megan Doyle | Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Urban Outfitters will open a store in Eddy Street Commons in September after Notre Dame students promoted the location to the popular retailer, according to Gregory Hakanen, director of Asset Management at Notre Dame.

“Urban Outfitters is a fantastic retailer,” he said. “It is really terrific for college-age and student audiences so we are thrilled to have them at Eddy Street.”

Kite Realty Group, based in Indianapolis, talked with Urban Outfitters for about three years before closing the deal.

Former student body president Grant Schmidt and vice president Cynthia Weber made a video pitch during the 2009-10 school year for Urban Outfitters with the help of other student leaders. Kite suggested the video as a “grassroots” effort to bring the retailer to South Bend, Schmidt said.

“It was not just the development that wanted [the retailer] but Notre Dame students thought Urban Outfitters would be successful too,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt and Weber asked the student body for suggestions on retailers at Eddy Street Commons in an e-mail last fall.

“The student involvement was just extraordinary,” Hakanen said. “I have been doing this for a while, and I have never seen anything like it.”

The video began with an introduction from Schmidt.

“We have been working all year with Eddy Street Commons trying to evaluate what would be successful and what would be appealing to the Notre Dame student body,” he said. “And I can honestly say that an Urban Outfitters would be a huge success.”

Schmidt wore a Polo sweater in the video.

“The reason I am not wearing Urban Outfitters clothing is because we don’t have one,” he said.

The video showed students from around campus explaining why they would shop at Urban Outfitters in Eddy Street Commons. The retailer received overwhelming support, Schmidt said.

“Once we got those votes, we thought Urban Outfitters would be extremely successful,” he said. “There were really not that many retail stores that were close to Notre Dame’s campus.”

Schmidt said the store will draw shoppers from campus as well as from the local community.

“It is one of those trendy stores that I think will be popular with both Notre Dame students and with South Bend,” he said. “I think we saw, as well as Urban Outfitters and Kite saw, that [Eddy Street Commons] would be a location that would attract both of those markets.”

The petition and the video were sent to Urban Outfitters along with a packet of information about the local area, Schmidt said.

Hakanen said Urban Outfitters should be successful in this area.

“Prior to Eddy Street Commons, there was extremely limited retail close to campus,” he said. “There are a number of college-age retailers at University Park Mall but Urban Outfitters was conspicuously absent.”

The next phase for the development will expand Eddy Street Commons onto the next block south, but planning has not begun for the new space, Hakanen said.

Hakanen said he hoped Urban Outfitters would draw similar retailers to the development.

“We have a strong restaurant line-up, and it is important to balance that,” he said. “Urban Outfitters will be a wonderful, wonderful retailer for the area.”