One of downtown Hinsdale’s most recognizable buildings at one of its busiest corners sits empty after a well-known retailer left last month after more than 20 years in town.
closed its 101 S. Washington St. location in June after the San Francisco-based clothing company shut down 189 stores nationwide, many of them in suburban downtown locations like Hinsdale’s, the village’s director of economic development Tim Scott said.
A note from the store to its customers is taped inside the glass doors of the now-vacant building at the corner of Washington and 1st streets.
“We will miss you,” the note reads. “Thank you for 21 years of patronage.”
Scott said his impression was that the closings were performance-based, and that Gap was trying to “right their ship” by favoring the heavily trafficked urban and mall locations.
“We knew it was coming for a few months,” Scott said.
’ 44 S. Washington St. location has also closed.
The village is now working to find new tenants for the vacant spaces. Scott said the 44 building is a narrow and deep 2,700 square feet.
"Its location, mid-block on Washington, makes it a very attractive location for retailers," Scott said.
The 101 building, which formerly served as a bank, is “remarkably beautiful,” but will be hard to fill because of its size. The first floor is 4,300 square feet.
“That’s more than double what most people are looking for today,” Scott said, noting that “niche operators” who might be interested in a downtown Hinsdale space don’t carry as much inventory as a retailer like Gap. “It’s definitely a bigger space than what the market is typically calling for today.”
A restaurant could utilize the large space, but the building lacks necessary infrastructure, including a kitchen, grease traps, and proper accessibility.
Conceptually, a restaurant in that space could be a fit, Scott said.
“Financially, it’s certainly challenging.”
However, such a transition is going on across the street at 29 E. 1st St. Restaurateur Peter Burdi is in the early stages of turning the old theater building into a tapas restaurant called Ciné. Burdi, , hopes to open his newest restaurant this fall.
Scott said he’s seen the renderings for Ciné and soon Burdi will need to start going through the village’s approval process for the planned exterior modifications.
“This project is really exciting,” Scott said.
The village hopes a similarly exciting tenant comes along for the Gap space. The building’s owner is local and has hired a broker with connections Scott said are solid.
“It’s a beautiful space and I think the right user will see that as well,” Scott said.