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Lightfoot says Macy’s wants out of Water Tower Place

The mayor says looting damage played no part in the retailer’s plans.

People take photos of the damaged Macy’s at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., on Monday after a night of looting.
People take photos of the damaged Macy’s at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., on Monday after a night of looting.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Macy’s is likely to leave Water Tower Place but not because of looting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday.

During a news conference about downtown safety issues, Lightfoot was asked about a report in Crain’s Chicago Business that the retailer is attempting to exit or downsize its space at the pioneering vertical mall along the Magnificent Mile. Water Tower Place has been damaged in looting sprees downtown.

“My understanding is that Macy’s notified the property owners at Water Tower in February that they probably were not going to renew their lease,” Lightfoot said. She said Macy’s decision is tied to its own problems in the retail industry and that “false reporting” linked the possible closure to the looting.

The Crain’s story, however, made no such connection and quoted a source saying any decision is not a reaction to the looting.

Macy’s representatives did not return several calls and emails seeking comment. Going back to the Marshall Field’s name, the store has anchored Water Tower Place since it opened in 1975.

The mall’s owner, Brookfield Property Partners, also could not be reached. It’s possible Macy’s could be threatening to leave as leverage for a better deal from the landlord.

Asked about the situation, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said he knew Macy’s was in lease renewal talks but was unaware of a potential shutdown. While the store sustained looting damage, he said Macy’s “has been actively working on the space to get ready to reopen. The progress they have made is substantial.”

Water Tower Place is within Hopkins’ ward.