As yet another testament to how hot the retail real estate market has become in Center City, consider the evolution of the Land Title Building.
That's where A.C. Moore - the arts and crafts retail chain with 141 stores in the Eastern United States - will open its first urban location in the country. The company and landlord to the Land Title Building signed a lease at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
The new, prototypical store will occupy 30,000 square feet at 100 S. Broad St., considered the city's largest office space building and at one of Center City's busiest intersections.
A.C. Moore has plans to make the Philadelphia store its new flagship and a showpiece given its prime location.
The big box will sit at one of the most high-profile intersections - Broad and Chestnut Streets - near Capital Grille and the Ritz Carlton, and diagonally across from a Walgreens.
The space became available in August 2014 for the first time in 15 years after tenant f.y.e. (For Your Entertainment) declined to exercise options to continue occupying what was than 25,000 square feet of space - 5,000 less than what A.C. Moore secured.
Cushman & Wakefield's senior director of retail services, Andi Pesacov, who brokered the deal, said A.C. Moore will occupy the ground floor and mezzanine.
A.C. Moore's arrival continues a string of big-name additions to the downtown retail market over the last 18 months, thanks largely to empty nesters and millennials, age 19 to 34, moving to the urban core and retailers zestfully following them.
Among the new players are New York fashion brand Rag and Bone, high-end Maine furniture maker Thos. Moser (which will open Nov. 10), and three Target Express stores, with two having opened in the last three months.
Online companies with New York flagships expanding to add brick-and-mortar stores here, such as Bonobos at 1519 Walnut St. and Warby Parker two doors down at 1523 Walnut, also represent the breadth and depth of retailers moving in.
Of A.C. Moore, "It's another national tenant realizing the fifth-largest city in the U.S. is a retailer's dream," Pesacov said. "Although retail rents are on the rise, the amount of development within the city demands resources to outfit the new residential and office markets. A.C. Moore wants to capture the growing market and emphasize the art of do-it-yourself."
The typical model store is divided into several sections filled with supplies, including kids' crafts, a bead shop, and design center.
"It's cheaper for so many things - like chocolate, stencil, and paint," said Sade Harris, 28, a pharmacy technician from Bristol, as she shopped on Sunday for materials to make wedding favors. "It's affordable."