The Birmingham Shopping District today reports more than 20 national and local businesses have been added in the last year, while the city approved 31 new business license applications, bucking pandemic-related brick and mortar retail trends.
The new business license applications were up from 26 in 2020, and 20 in 2019. Of the new licenses, 23 were within the boundaries of the Birmingham Shopping District. The new tenants added more than 30,000 square feet of retail space inside the district, not including the 159,000 square-foot Daxton Hotel, which opened in April.
“Birmingham has traditionally been a major shopping and dining destination, but now we are getting national attention,” says Sean Kammer, executive director of the Birmingham Shopping District. “The Daxton Hotel and (the upcoming) Restoration Hardware has only intensified downtown Birmingham’s appeal.”
International retailer Restoration Hardware, or RH, is expected to break ground soon on a new RH Gallery, the brand’s 4-story concept that will offer three floors of décor galleries, a rooftop restaurant, and other experiential features.
The building, designed by Victor Saroki, president of Saroki and Associates in downtown Birmingham, will be located at the southwest corner of S. Old Woodward and Brown Street (300-394 S. Old Woodward).
Driving leasing growth in downtown Birmingham comes from walkable public spaces, continuous infrastructure improvements and investments, and co-tenancy opportunities, among other factors, the BSD reports.
“Birmingham buzzes with activity all four seasons, a fitting backdrop for flexibility and work/life balance,” says Sam Surnow, owner of Surnow Co. in downtown Birmingham, which owns several commercial office and retail properties in the city.
Other new retailers include Craig Ryan Fine Clothiers, which opened last winter, while national menswear company State & Liberty recently opened a location. The brand specializes in men’s athletic wear with locations in New York, Boston, Chicago, and elsewhere.
“Birmingham has always been a desirable location for retail, but with the recent development surge and announcement of a 50,000 square-foot Restoration Hardware store, Birmingham is receiving national attention from retailers across the board. We currently have a waiting list of prospective tenants,” says Cindy Cuira, the retail recruiting consultant for the BSD.
Retail isn’t the only industry seeing a spike in new businesses. The service sector has added several new health and beauty establishments including Rore Method and The Lash Lounge on the north side of Old Woodward, and Beauty Fusion Aesthetics on the south.
The dining scene added three new restaurants this year. Birmingham Pub and Sushi Japan, both located along S. Old Woodward, while modern seafood restaurant, Mare Mediterranean, opened on Willits Street in the former Cameron’s Steakhouse space.
“A rich urban mix of dining, culture and recreation is essential to attracting and retaining the next generation of knowledge workers,” says Surnow. “This is the type of setting they demand.”
In addition, Mandy Rose Makeup salon opened its second southeast Michigan location along Merrill Street, near the new mixed-use development at 277 Pierce. The salon is expected to be completed early next year.
East of downtown Birmingham, in the so-called Triangle District, Michigan-owned Sun Medical selected a new location along Woodward Avenue, in part, because of its convenient access to medical facilities and area population, the BSD reports.