Saks Fifth Avenue has been a fixture at its Smithfield Street location since 1976, but Saks has given notice that it will terminate its lease in two years.
The high-end store could leave Macy’s as downtown Pittsburgh’s only major department store.
Right across the street from Saks is a public parking garage. Under Mayor Ravenstahl’s proposal, the hourly rate for that garage will jump from $5 an hour to $15.
The price hike is why retail stores are leaving Pittsburgh, says one analyst.
Tom Sullivan is a commercial real estate broker in downtown Pittsburgh.
“One of the things that comes up more often than not as a factor in making a decision is the cost of parking,” he said. “I think we’re right at the threshold of people’s tolerance of what they can really absorb.”
Sullivan says Saks could also be renegotiating with the landlord with threats of moving.
“They’re in good position that they can leverage say something like Ross Park Mall with downtown and see who is willing to give them a better lease deal,” he said.
Saks may be interested in expanding into space now owned by the city, if the city sweetens the offer financially to keep the store downtown.