Fashion Central Finds New Direction

Fashion Central on 1st Street and Stephen Avenue – Historic building Fashion Central sits awaiting its future, with nearly empty windows on every side, and open vacancies for new tenants. VERNON J. RUBIANO, The Press














Stephen Avenue regulars may have noticed a decline in tenants and empty window displays along all sides of Fashion Central downtown.

Since the sudden disappearance of cosmetics retailer Murale, and bankruptcy of once-famed designer label Betsey Johnson, people are starting to wonder if Fashion Central is dying.

It turns out that changes are indeed in the works at the shopping complex, at 1st Street West and Stephen Avenue South.

Upon entry, guests will notice the blocked off upper floor, covered in tarp, signaling that major renovations are to come.

“It’s still named Fashion Central for now, but the mix of use has broadened, so we may reconsider branding in the future,” says Alex Mccolm, regional director for Allied Properties, the current owners of the historic building.

“The upper floor has been fully leased to a geo-tech firm.”

To accommodate the move-in, Zenobia, a luxury womenswear retailer, and Kaviar, a store specializing in pearl adorned jewelry, have moved to the main level.

Along with the newly leased spots on the main floor, Mccolm revealed in a recent interview that two new retailers are coming to the building.

“The two main floor pockets on either side of Wolford will be Wind Mobile on 1st and David’s Teas on 8th.”

One retailer continues to have its windows fully stocked with ad campaigns and mannequins clad in luxury stockings.

Wolford, a hosiery and lingerie company founded in 1949 in Austria, gains almost all of its business from its runway reputation. Its lingerie is commonly utilized to complete the looks styled for Fashion Week shows across the globe.

It’s no wonder Wolford’s clientele remains faithful, considering the demand for the luxury lingerie has been its anchor despite the ups-and-downs of Fashion Central’s other retailers.

Lilo Litzius, a manager at Wolford, says she has heard little about the changes taking place in the building.

“We’re still here, and we’ll continue to be here as long as our clientele keeps returning,” says Litzius.

“I know that the building was sold, but that’s about it.  I think they’re just restructuring and moving people around.”

Other tenants have also continued to thrive despite the changes.

Popular coffee shop, Deville, continues to be booming with regular caffeine addicts and foodies, along with suit-and-heel clad urbanites gathered for intimate meetings.

News about the future of Fashion Central hasn’t yet passed Deville manager Sarah Brownfield’s ears.

“I haven’t heard anything about the whole building closing,” says Brownfield.

“Two businesses have been re-leased and moved, and I heard that the upstairs is going to become office space, but other than that, nothing.”

When asked if Deville was going to be disappearing from its 1st street and Stephen Avenue location, Brownfield’s response was good news to the coffee connoisseur’s ears.

“Deville is not closing,” she declared.

About Vernon Rubiano 2 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Vernon Rubiano worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2012-2013 academic year.