Urban Outfitters to move into former DeSha's space; Victorian Square is renamed The Square

ctruman@herald-leader.comFebruary 7, 2014 

DeSha's, a restaurant and bar, occupied the corner of the Victorian Square Shoppes. The mall at Main Street and Broadway opened in 1985.

PABLO ALCALA — Lexington Herald-Leader Buy Photo

Urban Outfitters, a store that appeals mostly to teens and college students, will be the new tenant in the high-profile corner space at Main Street and Broadway previously occupied by DeSha's restaurant.

Also, the former downtown mall development housing the business, Victorian Square, is returning to its roots as a collection of streetside businesses and will be known as The Square.

Two restaurants — Pies and Pints, and The Brass Tap — also are scheduled to open in the fall on the ground level of the complex, according to Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate of Cincinnati.

Mark Fallon, vice president of real estate for Anderson Real Estate, said the redevelopment of The Square will help launch a reinvigoration of a walkable downtown, including a renovation of Rupp Arena and the convention center nearby and the opening of the 21c Museum Hotel a few blocks down Main Street.

The Square is owned by a joint venture partnership between Anderson Real Estate and the Webb Companies of Lexington. Shortly after the companies bought the development in mid-2012, they announced that the block of restored 19th-century buildings that opened in 1985 as Victorian Square would be reinvented. Since then, several businesses — including original tenants DeSha's and Howard and Miller menswear — have left, and the Lexington chain Saul Good Restaurant & Pub opened in the complex.

Fallon said that renaming the 140,000-square-foot complex The Square emphasizes that it is streetside retail and easily accessible by downtown foot traffic, rather than a mall concept that forces pedestrians to circulate among indoor stores.

"Ours can be one of the critical parts of making downtown a more walkable and enticing destination," Fallon said Friday. "We think 'Victorian Square' does not bring that home like 'The Square' does."

Urban Outfitters is part of the same Philadelphia-based company that markets Anthropologie, but the Anthropologie customer is older than the target Urban Outfitter demographic, a fashion-forward younger clientele ages 18 to 26. Both companies — along with Free People, Terrain garden center and the BHLDN bridal brand — are owned by Urban Outfitters Inc.

Urban Outfitters, which has more than 130 stores in the United States, Canada and Europe, operates a store in Louisville. Lexington's Anthropologie shop opened early last year at The Mall at Lexington Green.

Urban Outfitters Inc. was a standout in a largely dismal retailer holiday season. The company reported record sales even though its namesake line of shops saw a decline. In its most recent quarterly earnings announcement, in November, Urban Outfitters Inc. reported an 18 percent rise in profit and that net income rose to $70.3 million.

Fallon said the new Urban Outfitters will draw University of Kentucky students toward the downtown core, and Transylvania University students are a few blocks away. He said he aggressively encouraged Urban Outfitters to open its Lexington shop downtown rather than in the suburbs.

Fallon said his company surveyed successful market streets in Manhattan, London and Amsterdam in formulating the tenant mix for The Square.

Dayton, Ohio-based Pies and Pints, which has five locations in Ohio and West Virginia, is opening its first Kentucky restaurant at The Square, featuring craft beers and gourmet pizza.

In a news release, Pies and Pints owner Rob Lindeman praised The Square for "its central location to the market where we believe there is great synergy with local business, universities and convention center."

Tampa, Fla.-based The Brass Tap has 11 stores, mostly in Florida, but is in the midst of opening dozens more.

The Lexington restaurant is franchised by former UK soccer player Matthew Baum, who said in the news release, "The opportunity to return to Lexington was naturally appealing." Baum has an agreement to franchise five Brass Tap stores and so far has launched one, in Florida.

Dudley Webb of the Webb Companies said, "We have always believed in this special block in downtown Lexington, and it is exciting to see the momentum that is occurring."

Additional tenants for The Square will be announced later.

Cheryl Truman: (859) 231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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