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After nearly 30 years, the Broadway Urban Outfitters is closing

Urban Outfitters

The exit of Urban Outfitters will leave a hole at Broadway and Harrison (Image: CHS)

Youth-oriented fashion retailer Urban Outfitters is packing up and moving off of Capitol Hill and the Broadway corner it has called home for nearly three decades.

Workers were reported clearing out the relatively giant two-level store on the northern end of the Broadway Market shopping center Monday afternoon.

A store manager confirmed the end of the lease and the UO’s closing with CHS just as other neighborhood retailers are gearing up for curbside pick-up and relaxed outbreak restrictions.

While the COVID-19 crisis and financial impact still swirls, the Urban Outfitters exit has been in the works since last summer when the shopping center began marketing the lease for the space.

Broadway at Harrison

(Image: CHS)

Still, the Capitol Hill store’s obituary will now be forever intertwined with the financial impact of the outbreak and restrictions. Official closures across the Hill during the crisis — so far — have been few including another Hill fashion outlet, E Pike vintage shop Le Frock.

Broadway, meanwhile, has continued to be home to a set of smaller, independent fashion retailers and thrift shops including the Lifelong store, Revival, Trendy Wendy, Panache, and The New York Xchange. Hopefully the small band of retailers can emerge from the other side of COVID-19 restrictions soon.

The Philadelphia-headquartered Urban Outfitters corporation dates to 1970 and has grown into a multinational with brands including Anthropologie and Free People. The publicly traded company produces around $3.5 billion annually across nearly 250 stores.

Its exit from Broadway removes the largest non-grocery retail brand and jobs from the street and marks the final death blow to an era that once saw the street home to both an Urban Outfitters and a Gap. Now, 1991 has come gone and Broadway’s newest wave of commercial real estate customers has been dominated by financial services and banks, along with health service companies like the One Medical slated to replace Panera on the street.

What will come next for the massive retail berth in the Broadway Market? Representatives for Regency Centers Corporation, the Florida-based, grocery-focused real estate investment company that paid $43 million for the city block-sized shopping center in 2015, haven’t yet responded to our questions about the change.

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42 thoughts on “After nearly 30 years, the Broadway Urban Outfitters is closing

  1. Uniqlo has gone so far downhill. Their clothing is trash fast fashion. Their linen shirts are junk quality that feels like crinkly paper, and their cashmere fall apart in no time.

    Now a Muji there would be awesome.

  2. Having a tough time placing these guys in the 1990s. Are you sure they’ve been there since 1990? We can remember a Gap, the Channel 9 store, and some other stuff. Seems like Urban Outfitters didn’t come along until after 2000.

    • It has been there since then. I remember Urban was in a different configuration initially. I think it went back further. And there were some other stores in that back corner of QFC area too. I remember a bookstore, I think a Crown Books. I think briefly where was a state liquor store.

      I’m just going to guess that QFC is going to expand into the space more, at least on the first floor. More to boycott. (Kroger supports right wing causes, despite that Broadway QFC staff themselves are LGBT friendly. Those pride flags are not paid for by Kroger for example.)

      • Yes, there was a diagonal hallway from the corner that ended at the Fred Meyers that was in the building before QFC took the space over. So they must have had a much smaller space. I can’t say that I remember them there, but that does not mean that they weren’t.

      • I forgot about that entrance. UO’s entrance went diagonally to the entrance of the mall and was on the left-hand side as you went in. I also remember having to ask a FM employee to walk me from level to level since it was separated into two levels…now QFC’s lower and upper levels.

    • YUP, it was there with The Gap, a greeting cards store, Metro Man, B&O Espresso, La Petite Boulonguerie (sp?), the photo place, Hamburger Mary’s, the Movie Theater, the cheap tickets place, the Mini Gym, Fred Meyer, the vegan/veggie bowl place, the flower shop on the corner, the video store, the shoe place and all the small jewelry and sweater kiosks in the middle. It was an actual “Market” —- before QFC ruined it all.

      • I fondly remember those times. Gravity Bar was my first exposure to vegan food and the Market was a real place to hang out and meet people, especially on rainy days.

  3. we need a non-profit grass roots community low income all you can eat dinner, a low income donut shop/ ice cream shop, a low income jack in the box,a low income mcdonalds,a low income food curt and a low income community theatur.

  4. I remember playing hooky in high school in the late 90s and coming over from Bremerton to explore Capitol Hill- it was the first time I saw openly gay shops and people- I was mind blown, I mean, they openly displayed rainbow flags and I saw a gay couple kiss in real life! I was amazed. I bought a string of mini-rainbow paper lanterns from UO, shirt from the Gap, a metal HIV awareness bracelet from a kiosk and some soap from Ladybug, and somehow still wasn’t “out”. It will always have a spot in my heart- knowing a safe space like that existed. One more nail in the coffin of the OG Broadway.

  5. What happened to all the merchandise left over from UO? I saw the junk truck taking boxes out, yesterday. Must have been over 300 big boxes of “stuff”.

  6. Why are there so many comments on this! We need City Funded Cash Rental Assistance RIGHT NOW! Homeless people are piling up in our city and the economic refugees are going to keep coming. I live just blocks away from this Urban Outfitters and people wander by my house at all hours writhing and screaming in pain and anguish and the post about Urban Outfitters closing gets a rawkus retrospective in the comments… We are blind to the horrors our short sighted gluttony causes to our neighbors and fellow citizens. If you think Covid19 has caused uncomfortable disruption to our everyday “lives” just wait till the sinkhole that is the American economic system opens up and swallows us all whole. We’ll be gathered around a tree at Volunteer Park talking about how there used to be electricity and running water.

    • The Mad Max vagabond crowd isn’t screaming cries of poverty – they are screaming because the drugs are wearing off and they haven’t found anybody to rob or any pedestrians to give them cash for their next high. Also, the price of meth and heroin have gone up after the borders with Canada and Mexico closed and many of the bigtime traffickers are sheltering in their respective homelands. The real gluttony going on in front of Urban Outfitters has been the result of cheap drugs, weak civil commitment laws, and lots of expensive electronic items and bikes to steal and sell. Also, the socialist utopia where they don’t have power or water exists already! In Venezuela! I’m sure they would accept a fellow comrade with open arms.

      • In our modern Capitalist dystopia humans that don’t have a direct role to play in generating wealth (a job) are unable to participate (buy things) and are cast aside as human garbage and demonized as per the contemporary mythos as being personally incapable of fulfilling a role (working a job) and thus deserving of this fate (poverty and homelessness). And while that is relatively fair (relative to the basic understanding of how our economic system works) the reality of this is the horrifying nightmare you see as you walk the streets of just about any American city. This is our society! Our society operates like this.. This one..

      • The drug flow thing is an interesting point. I have noticed an increase in desperation. I am also assuming its the net effect of businesses and restaurants being closed and the wastes of those were used as tools of survival for homeless people and it’s all dried up.

    • I see your point Ghost and your concern; but, at the same time, this is a community blog which allows its readers to reply and discuss the articles published. One part of the article covers the financial situation that has caused UO to shut the store which would steer the comments in one direction. Yet, many of us have been here for years and may also have had discussions of the changes we have seen. Capitol Hill has gone through many changes since I’ve been here (early 90s). Sometimes, I find myself reminiscing/discussing with my friends these changes, much like what is being discussed here. I don’t believe this discussion in any way deters from the thoughts/principles that we may share with you. I write this with total respect.

    • When you’ve lived on the hill for 20+ years you become tired of dealing with the pan handlers and harassment. Things were different back in the day. So if people reminiscing about those days comes across as being uncaring it’s not. But some of us need a brief respite from the stress of current times and a trip down memory lane serves that purpose for some.

  7. I still own a jacket I bought at that store in the early 90’s and was even pleasantly surprised to find lots of stuff for Christmas presents shopping there at the end of last year. The scene on the sidewalk out front has definitely become way more disturbing and dangerous in recent years compared to the 90’s and 00’s. RIP

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