Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels grab new retail locations in SF's Union Square

Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels grab new retail locations in SF's Union SquareNow-closed AllSaints location at 140 Geary Street, which will house a Van Cleef & Arpels retail store come this spring. | Photo: Screenshot via Google Maps
Matt Charnock
Published on January 28, 2022

Van Cleef & Arpels — a centuries-old jewelry chain founded in Paris — and the luxury fashion company Chanel recently acquired new retail store locations in Union Square that are set to debut this year, each real estate investment existing as a sign that downtown SF is rebounding.

Adding to the growing list of high-end retailers snatching up leases and properties in downtown San Francisco, the aforementioned European jeweler is set to open a new location within the coming months, taking over the space at 140 Geary Street that formerly housed the British apparel brand AllSaints. The Class B Building situated in the middle of Union Square where Van Cleef & Arpels will open is an affiliated piece of real estate owned by Trinity Properties — a company that was started by the late Angelo Sangiacomo, who was famously one of SF’s largest landlords, and it is now run by his surviving family members. (The massive residential development on Eighth and Market streets, Trinity Place, was Sangiacomo's swan song that he did not get to see completed.)

In an exclusive report by the San Francisco Business Times, we learn that Chanel recently purchased the building at 340 Post Street in Union Square for $63 million, which is one of the largest real estate deals inked in San Francisco since the start of the pandemic. The three-story, 17,810-square-foot building — which, at the moment, houses the Williams-Sonoma store that's been there for almost 30 years — will add to Chanel's current local footprint that includes its four-story Union Square brick-and-mortar location at 156 Geary Street. The Business Times surmises that Williams-Sonoma may be looking to relocate, and that Chanel seems likely to relocate its Union Square presence here when that happens.

Los Angeles-based Stockdale Capital Partners purchased the Post Street structure back in October of 2018 for $48.5 million. According to the Business Journal, Chanel's acquisition of the building sits at a cost of about $3,537.34 per square foot for the space — a roughly 25% increase for each square foot from that sale four years prior.

Just a year ago, Union Square recorded historic numbers of retail availability rates as big-name retailers like Uniqlo, H&M, Marshalls, and Gap closed stores left and right. But Laura Sagues Barr, the senior vice president at CBRE San Francisco — a commercial and private real estate services provider — has noted this acceleration of real estate purchases and commercial leases being signed in downtown SF is incredibly promising. All of this activity is pointing to a "significant number" of luxury retailers keen on expanding their physical footprints there as the city continues recovering.