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Banana Republic closing store at troubled Harborplace

Banana Republic is closing its store at troubled Harborplace in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, just over a year after moving from another nearby retail center.

One of the larger tenants in the Pratt Street pavilion, the apparel retailer will be the latest in a string of departures that have hurt the waterfront dining and shopping attraction.

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Harborplace, which is struggling with vacancies and management problems, has been in receivership since May 30. Baltimore City Circuit Court took control of the property away from owner Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp., which defaulted on its loan for the center.

Banana Republic is slated to close Aug. 10. Other tenants that have left in recent years while renovations to modernize the center were delayed include Urban Outfitters, Five Guys, Noodles & Co., La Tasca, Edo Sushi, Lenny’s Fire & Ice and The Fudgery.

Officials at Gap Inc., owner of the Banana Republic brand as well as Gap, Old Navy and Athleta, did not respond Friday afternoon to a request for comment.

In its most recent quarter, reported May 30, Gap missed Wall Street estimates for profits and sales and the company cut its full-year earnings outlook. Sales at Banana Republic stores open at least a year fell 3 percent during the quarter, Gap reported.

The retailer has leased more than 6,500 square feet at Harborplace since May of last year, when it moved from The Gallery across Pratt Street.

At Harborplace, sales at Banana Republic were up in May this year compared to May 2018 and were projected to be about flat each month on a year-over-year basis, according to a report for June by the receiver, IVL Group LLC. Banana Republic was projecting annual sales of $1.1 million for the store.

Receiver Ian V. Lagowitz, president of IVL Group, did not respond Friday to a request for comment.

IVL’s report also showed that nearly a third of Harborplace was vacant as of June and some of its retailers have struggled with declining sales for years. As of June 30, Harborplace was more than 31 percent vacant, with the 68 percent leased portion bringing in $6.78 million in annual base rent and other tenant charges.

The report, the first from the receiver to the court, also said the property needs maintenance and repairs.

IVL is managing and leasing the festival marketplace, which New York-based Ashkenazy bought in 2012, on behalf of Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas. Deutsche Bank is the trustee for mortgage holder UBS-Barclays Commercial Mortgage Trust.

New tenants at Harborplace have included Build-a-Bear and Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls. Jimmy Buffett-themed restaurant LandShark Bar & Grill is set to move into the Light Street Pavilion in late 2019.

Banana Republic’s closing was first reported Friday by the Baltimore Business Journal.

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