Standing in front of a 13-foot-tall vehicle shaped like a duck boot, administrators from Yale University Properties announced Monday afternoon that L.L. Bean will become the newest tenant in the Broadway shopping district in summer 2018.
Lauren Zucker, associate vice president for New Haven Affairs and University Properties, announced at Monday’s ceremony that the new store will occupy the first two floors of the six-floor building at 272 Elm St., which is currently under construction and will also provide four floors of graduate student housing. Zucker said the L.L. Bean store will occupy approximately 9,000 square feet and bring in around 60 new jobs to the city. She also lauded the company’s investment in creating high-quality outdoor apparel.
L.L. Bean’s vice president of retail real estate, Jamie Gull, said the company will provide a “curated mix” of outdoor gear to Yale and New Haven residents based on past purchases made online or through catalogues. He added that he believes Yale students would love its products, namely its iconic duck boots, and that his company is excited to serve the community.
The new storefront will also include the company’s Outdoor Discovery School, which offers a variety of lessons that teach participants outdoor skills like kayaking, Gull said.
According to vice president for New Haven and State Affairs Bruce Alexander, this two-story L.L. Bean store is a product of Yale’s community investment program, an initiative headed by University Properties. The program buys and redevelops real estate near campus, a process that also provides a constant stream of job positions and real estate tax for the Elm City community, Alexander said.
In 2011, Yale purchased a 99-year lease on the lot at 272 Elm St., which was originally a parking lot, from the city. The new development on the lot will also include four floors of graduate student housing.
Alexander added that Yale is one of the largest taxpayers in New Haven because of these investments in commercial properties.
“While we call this collection of shops and restaurants the Shops at Yale to locate them, they of course are here to serve the entire New Haven community and southern Connecticut region,” Alexander said during the Monday event. “We invite everyone in the area to enjoy Broadway, one of the more interesting shopping districts in the region and now made even more so by the addition of one of the great merchandising institutions serving America since 1912.”
Mayor Toni Harp also spoke at the event to extend her welcome to the new business. She highlighted the mutually beneficial relationship between New Haven and Yale, adding that she believes new business investments indicate an upward trend in the city.
Calling New Haven “a city on the rise and in demand,” Harp sketched a positive outlook for business owners and expressed gratitude to Yale, a stakeholder that is the landlord for many stores and residential buildings.
“I share with Yale a sense of what’s good for the University is good for New Haven and vice versa,” Harp said. “[The University] is among the city’s most responsible and conscientious landlords. It is no coincidence how the city’s retail area adjacent to Yale are among the busiest in New Haven.”
Evy Roberts ’19, who was a FOOT leader last summer, said she wears a fair amount of L.L. Bean gear on campus, mainly because the brand has durable products as well as generous return and repair policies — two positive qualities for outdoor apparel stores. This new addition, however, would only be adding to a “rather niche market.” Roberts pointed out that the Broadway shopping district already has two outdoor clothing stores, Trailblazer and Denali.
The building that will host L.L. Bean and graduate housing broke ground on Aug. 24, 2016.