The night Chicago retail died

Thanks to a rash of acquistion activity, the flagship Carson Pirie Scott store on Chicago’s State Street is closing, while the original Marshall Field’s is being renamed.

It has not been a good year for home-grown Chicago department stores. In August, Carson Pirie Scott, which has operated its flagship store on State Street for more than 100 years, announced that the store would be closing after the 2006 holiday shopping season. According to owner Bon Ton Stores, which bought the chain from Saks in March, having a store in the location is no longer profitable.

Joseph Freed and Associates, which acquired the property in 2001, will reportedly redevelop the location as a mixed-use facility with retail, office and entertainment space. “We are currently entertaining several redevelopment scenarios and we’re confident we will be able to recast this historic structure back to its distinction,” the firm’s president, Larry Freed, said in a statement.

The building, which was designed by famed architect Louis Sullivan in 1898, was originally constructed for the Schlesinger and Mayer department store. British department store Selfridges briefly occupied the building before Carson opened up shop in 1904.

Located a few block north is the flagship for another famous retailer, Marshall Field’s, which underwent a name change late last summer. The venerable Chicago department store chain has been re-branded as a Macy’s following its acquisition by Federated Department Stores in 2005. Macy’s also re-branded a number of its regional chains this year, including Filene’s in Boston, Foley’s in Texas and Washington, DC-area Hecht’s.

The move was met with protests from angry Chicagoans. “I feel badly,” one protester told a local television station. “I think Federated is disrespecting our history and culture of Chicago.”