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Posted on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

Is construction on ex-Circuit City in Arborland for Nordstrom Rack?

By Lizzy Alfs


Following a three-year vacancy, construction is under way at the former Circuit City in Arborland.

Lizzy Alfs |

Construction activity at the long-vacant Circuit City site in Ann Arbor’s Arborland Center appears to be paving the way for a Nordstrom Rack retail store, according to city documents.

Nordstrom Rack is the off-price retail division of the Nordstrom Inc. department chain.

The Seattle-based company is exploring opening a store in the Ann Arbor area, Nordstrom spokesperson Kendall Ault confirmed Monday.

Although she said there is no official announcement regarding a deal for a local store, a permit pulled with the City of Ann Arbor conveys the company’s interest in the former Circuit City space.

The permit — applied for by Farmington Hills-based Friedman Construction & Design — is for the “interior demolition of Circuit City” for Nordstrom Rack, according to city documents. Construction permits don't require proof of a lease, but the contractor is a division of the mall's management company.

A representative with Friedman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ault said, via email, Nordstrom would “love the opportunity to better serve Ann Arbor with a Nordstrom Rack.”

She added: “We’re hopeful we can get something done soon.”

After three years of vacancy, the Circuit City sign was removed from the site last week. The electronic store liquidated in 2009, vacating a 30,000-square-foot space in the shopping center on Washtenaw Avenue.

The space is situated on the west end of Arborland, between Famous Footwear and Petco. It’s located near the former Borders store — which is being replaced by beauty superstore Ulta and five below, a discount retailer that targets teens and pre-teen customers.

The space is listed for lease for $14-per-square-foot with Landmark Commercial Real Estate Services' Michael Lippitt and Rick Shlom, who did not respond to several requests for comment.

Denise Eckardt of Connecticut-based AmCap Inc. — the company that owns Arborland Center — told last week that negotiations are under way for the space but declined to discuss the situation, citing a confidentiality agreement.

Nordstrom, founded as a shoe store in 1901, operates 231 stores in 31 states, which includes 110 Nordstrom Rack locations. There are Nordstrom department stores in Troy, Novi and Clinton Township. There are Nordstrom Rack stores in Troy and Grand Rapids.

The Rack stores carry “on-trend merchandise from Nordstrom stores and at 50 to 60 percent off original Nordstrom prices,” according to the company’s website.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

Fingers crossed!


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 11:16 a.m.

Off Price Nordstroms Ok whatever youSay.


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 11:09 a.m.



Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 11:55 p.m.

Nordstrom is out in places like Troy because that is closer to where people who care about the latest fashion trends primarily are. Ann Arbor doesn't seem like a place that really cares about that, well except the students from the coasts. Maybe I'm wrong, just been my short experience and observation here.


Fri, Jul 20, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.

@A2Newbie. Understood. As for people that make snide remarks about your style, well ... remind yourself that you never take what someone - who, in this town, is very likely to be wearing socks with sandals - has to say seriously.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:29 a.m.

@dotdash, sorry, as I said I've been here a short while. I have had snide remarks made over my clothes/handbags/shoes so I have been feeling a little out of place. @Chimay, I agree, it is really difficult to find quality clothing here. By trendy I didn't mean the trashy or poorly made stuff. And I fully agree on a nice, quality suit!!! Shoes I've had a tough time with here. I'd also appreciate a handbag store other than the limited selection you get in the department stores and Coach at Briarwood. Wow I'm sounding spoiled!!


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

It has nothing to do with trendiness. My profession demands that I wear clothing that doesn't look cheap or age-inappropriate - both too young and too old. That is everything currently in Ann Arbor,. I can manage to find shoes, especially at Von Maur's shoe room, but most of the time I have to drive to Troy or order things online if I need a few new pieces. I've been desperate for something that doesn't sell cheap crap made by exploited workers in the Mariana Islands since I moved here - now I can go to NR here and get a $500 Eileen Fisher suit that will last for years for less than $200. That's more economical than buying a $100 suit at Macy's that will look crappy in less than a year.

Angry Moderate

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 4:01 a.m.

I hope they do well...there are plenty of people who live or work near Ann Arbor and wear higher-end clothes to work. A2 isn't all students.


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 2:35 a.m.

You are wrong. We are dying here for a good women's clothing store. DYYYYYYING!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

Called it last week. Told ya.

say it plain

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 4:47 a.m.

Nah, you said it was a Nordstrom's, not a Nordstrom's *Rack*. Big difference. I lol'ed back then with reason ;-) Though I am still a little shocked that even a Rack would choose that plaza now that the downsale 5 below is coming in too. I guess they'd been wanting to get in to AA for some time now, Nordstrom's, with good reason....they'll do well here. I can see the hunger for more in the eyes of those Marshalls' shoppers lol.

say it plain

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 8:28 p.m.

Ooh, perfect! Finally a store I'm excited to see opening around here! Great given that there is already a Marshall's in that plaza...


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Oh PLEASE-PLEASE-PLEASE! *foams at the mouth* No more driving to heinous, evil Troy! YES! *bambi eyes*


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

50-60% off 'original' Nordstrom prices is still lots of $$$$


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

I think this is so great. I was concerned that it would end up being another dollar store or something like that. The Nordstrom store will definitely add some class to that area and increase the number of consumers who come to Arborland - a win-win for all the retailers that are housed there.

Kyle Nathaniel

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 6:30 p.m.

I think this is an absolutely perfect location for a Nordstrom Rack. The closest is in Troy. I'm certain this would bring people from Canton, Westand, Livonia, Toledo, and many surrounding cities.


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 11:54 a.m.

I agree! I have driven to Grand Rapids to go to NR!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

I've gone there in California and gotten good stuff at low prices! Hope it comes to Ann Arbor!

Simone Cromer

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:35 p.m.

A Nordstrom Rack would do very, VERY well at that location. And for those being snarky about NR, you have no idea what you're talking about. Nordstrom Rack is previous or current season high-end fashion that has been removed from Nordstrom and sent to NR. It's a great business concept.

Mike D.

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 4:08 a.m.

Some may be cheaper lines, but most of what they carry truly is just last season's Nordstrom merchandise. I have found great deals at the one in Troy, where I no longer go because of their hateful mayor.

Angry Moderate

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 3:59 a.m.

FYI, not all of the clothes at Nordstrom Rack are the same as Nordstrom. Some are cheaper lines (not that there's anything wrong with that.)


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Oh great...another discount store filled with sub-standard inferior cast offs.


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

Have you ever been to a Nordstrom Rack? Sub-standard? Not hardly.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

That could be great for the area! Yay!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.

A regular Nordstrom would be nice, also - Macy's and Von Mahr don't make one good department store between them.


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 12:14 a.m.

Van Mauer is WAY over priced for a crowd that is similar to Jakes. OLD and soon to die. They will go the way of the other businesses that rely on the geriatric crowd, Jacobsons and Bill Knapps


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 10:37 p.m.

Von Maur's sale shoe room is outstanding.

John of Saline

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 8:12 p.m.

I like Von Maur, too. Reminds me of Jacobson's. I miss Jacobson's.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

I really like VonMaur (awesome credit in, NO interest) and great sale's staff. I wish they stocked more items, but what they do have can be really nice. Macy's is a dump: filthy, messy, ugly slutty or dated-looking fashions. So yes, I would also love a Nordstrom :O)


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:01 p.m.