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InBox space for lease

BY JULIA TRUSZKOWSKI | JUNE 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Another retail space is on the market in downtown Iowa City but a local realtor says the space won’t be empty for long.

Jeff Edberg, a commercial real-estate broker for Lepic-Kroeger Realtors, said there are several prospective tenants looking to rent the 114 S. Clinton St. space, where InBox is currently located.

He said he has received oral offers from two national tenants, and he expected to begin receiving written agreements by the end of the day Tuesday. He said he is unable to release information about negotiations at this time.

The owner of InBox, Stevie Toomey, did not return calls on Tuesday evening. Toomey started InBox four years ago, when she was 25 years old, and she opened another women’s clothing store, Nori, 105 E. College St., this past month.

As many as 17 women’s clothing stores are located downtown.

Sandra Navalesi, the owner of women's clothing boutique Dulcinea, 2 S. Dubuque St., said her store advertises “cool clothes for women of all ages,” and she belives that the competition among women’s clothing stores does not prevent her business from thriving.

“We all carry different things,” Navalesi said, noting the variety of clothing stores, including Revival, Velvet Coat, and Cheap & Chic. “The wide range of styles offered at each store allows them to complement each other.”

Nancy Bird, the executive director of the Iowa City Downtown District, agreed.

“[Downtown has] a strong local-store niche,” she said.  “We want to welcome others … [and] strengthen our niche of women’s clothing stores.”

Edberg said he believes that downtown, which caters to a “unique, specialized market,” offers retail stores and other local businesses the opportunity to flourish.

“Cars are in the parking lot, so people are walking, which is great traffic for retail,” he said. “It gives clothing stores the chance to do very well.”

While national retailers do not have a firm footing in Iowa City, one local developer thinks they will help drive traffic downtown.

“The vast majority of [retailers] downtown said that if a quality national retailer came downtown, they would be fine with it,” developer Marc Moen said.

He said the public has lusted after well-known brand names for years.

“The one that everybody used to talk about is Urban Outfitters,” Moen said.  “Iowa City has been on its list for a number of years. They’ve said they’re very interested in downtown.”

As for the space now available for lease, nothing is set in stone, he said.

“What [Toomey] told me … is that she thinks the space always has been more than she really needs,” Moen said. “I don’t know what her plan is. She loves being downtown and has been very happy with the success of her stores.”


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