French luxury jewellery brand Van Cleef & Arpels will open a store on Alberni Street in the heart of Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’, according to Business in Vancouver. It’s a remarkable move, considering that in January of this year, a 1,435 square foot Van Cleef & Arpels shop-in-store with a street-front entrance opened in downtown Vancouver’s flagship Maison Birks.
The freestanding Van Cleef & Arpels store will locate in part of an 8,000 square foot retail building currently under construction by landlord Kingswood Capital on Alberni Street’s 1000 block. The store is expected to open in the spring of 2017, and will occupy the majority of the Alberni Street building, which will also be occupied by another luxury retailer.
Being in excess of 4,000 square feet, Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alberni Street store could become one of the brand’s largest North American locations. Van Cleef & Arpels’ Manhattan flagship, spanning three floors adjacent to storied department store Bergdorf Goodman, measures 5,730 square feet with 3,500 square feet accessible to clients. Van Cleef’s Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive store features about 2,300 square feet of retail space.
Van Cleef & Arpels currently operates 10 freestanding locations in the United States. Cities include New York City, Bal Harbour FL, Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa CA, Chicago, Las Vegas, Manhasset NY, Naples FL, Palm Beach FL, and Short Hills NJ. Noticeably absent are large cities with plenty of luxury brands such as San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, Houston and Dallas. All of the latter five metro regions, with the exception of Boston, feature Van Cleef & Arpels shop-in-stores at Neiman Marcus.
In January, a 1,435 square foot Van Cleef & Arpels shop-in-store opened within the massive Maison Birks flagship at 698 West Hastings Street (corner of Granville Street) in downtown Vancouver. A dedicated Granville Street entrance was created for the store by carving into the building’s facade — a controversial move, considering the building’s heritage status.
When the Vancouver shop-in-store opened, Van Cleef & Arpels President and CEO was quoted as saying: “We have enjoyed a successful partnership with Birks for many years. We are excited to increase our presence with this beautiful new space and look forward to sharing the Maison’s rich heritage and poetic vision of the world with our friends in Vancouver.”
Birks store director Stevan Suvajdzic told Business in Vancouver that the Van Cleef & Arpels Birks store is owned and run by Birks.
Van Cleef & Arpels’ only other Canadian location is at Maison Birks in Toronto’s Manulife Centre. That Birks store also saw Van Cleef & Arpels open in the fall of 2006, though a replacement shop-in-store reflecting the brand’s updated image opened in March of 2013. The Toronto boutique is smaller than the Vancouver Birks shop-in-store, and will be considerably smaller than the new freestanding Vancouver unit.
Founded in 1906 by Alfred Van Cleef and his brothers-in-law Charles and Julien Arpels on the Place Vendome in Paris, Van Cleef & Arpels is considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious jewellery brands.