Pinstripes coming to Streeterville

Pinstripes coming to Streeterville
By: Micah Maidenberg

Pinstripes Inc. is bringing its mixture of bowling, bocce and banquets to a former warehouse in Streeterville, ratcheting up competition for entertainment dollars in the downtown neighborhood.

Northbrook-based Pinstripes leased 33,000 square feet on the ground and lower levels in River East Plaza, the 109-year-old brick loft building at McClurg Court and Illinois Street, said company founder and CEO Dale Schwartz.

The deal is the second major retail lease landed by the building’s owner, local developer William O’Kane, who plans to convert the property’s upper floors into about 300 apartments.

Entertainment tenants like Pinstripes are popular with developers because they tend to eat big chunks of space and can help draw shoppers into properties, boosting other tenants, said Leslie Karr, senior managing director in the Chicago office of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. But Pinstripes is invading the turf of Lucky Strike, which offers 18 lanes of bowling, billiards and food just a block to the west.

“How many bowling alleys do you need in a trade area?” said Ms. Karr, who wasn’t involved in the Pinstripes deals but represented River East Plaza’s former owner years ago. “That doesn’t bode well for one of them.”

In Streeterville, Pinstripes plans 14 bowling lanes, six bocce courts, a restaurant, banquet facilities and an outdoor area overlooking the Ogden Slip, Mr. Schwartz said. Pinstripes will lease space in the middle of the building currently occupied by the River East Arts Center. Like its other outlets, the company expects about 40 percent to 45 percent of its business there to be pre-planned events such as weddings or corporate outings, with the rest coming from walk-ins off the street.

With about $50 million in annual revenue, Pinstripes has looked for space downtown for at least three years, Mr. Schwartz said, and ultimately chose Streeterville because of the area’s residential density, its proximity to the business community and tourist traffic.


Downtown, there’s a lot of terrific restaurants and a lot of terrific entertainment venues,” he said. “We’re really going to have to be on our game.” Pinstripes still needs a liquor license from the city and hopes to open this fall.

Pinstripes has locations in Oak Brook, Northbrook and South Barrington as well as suburban Minneapolis. The company also is opening venues in Washington and outside Kansas City, Kan.

In addition to landing Pinstripes, Mr. O’Kane, chairman of Chicago-based Group Fox Inc., has signed Irvington, N.Y.-based Natural Markets Food Group to a lease covering about 23,000 square feet in the former Fox & Obel grocery store space at the southeast corner of Illinois Street and McClurg Court.

Mr. O’Kane did not return calls. He has yet to begin converting the office space at River East Plaza into apartments but faces an increasingly competitive market amid a construction boom that shows few signs of tapering off.

Jason Gustaveson, vice president at Chicago-based Stone Real Estate Corp., who is leasing the property’s retail spaces for Mr. O’Kane, declined to comment.