The former Sex World building in the North Loop has signed its first retail tenant, and it’s a much more buttoned-up one: men’s apparel retailer Bonobos.
The showroom, or “guideshop” as Bonobos refers to them, will be the first of its kind in the Twin Cities and will take up about 1,000 square feet. It is expected to open later this year.
Bonobos launched in 2007 as an online-only brand that focuses on well-fitting men’s clothes. It says it is the largest apparel company ever built on the web. But today, its assortment is now also sold at Nordstrom and other retailers, including at North Loop men’s boutique Martin Patrick 3.
Bonobos now has 27 showrooms where employees walk customers through the full assortment and let them try on anything.
But customers leave empty-handed since any orders they might make are then shipped to them.
The showroom, located at the corner of Washington Avenue and 2nd Avenue N., will join a number of other stores in the North Loop, which has increasingly become a destination for men’s boutiques. Besides Martin Patrick 3, its neighbors will include Askov Finlayson and Filson.
It will also be yet another example in that neighborhood of a previously online-only brand that has built out a brick-and-mortar presence. Warby Parker, which started as an online eyewear company, opened a shop inside of Askov Finlayson last year.
Minneapolis-based Falcon Ridge Partners is redeveloping the three-level building, which for decades was known for being home to the adult store Sex World.
While that area was once a rundown part of town, in recent years the North Loop has become filled with posh lofts, restaurants and boutiques.
A downsized Sex World store still remains at the site, but the owners are looking for new retail and office tenants to fill up the rest of the space.
In recent weeks, a new sign has gone up along the side of the building branding it as “The Washington.”
Molly Townsend, who is the broker with Welsh Cos. & Colliers International for the space, said she has a lease signed with another tenant but can’t yet say who it is. But there are still a couple of other retail spaces available on the first and second floor.
“We want something that fits in the neighborhood,” she said. “We want restaurants, we want clothing retailers in the style of the North Loop.”
She added that Bonobos is a perfect fit for the neighborhood.