Last year, Google was reportedly in “advanced negotiations” to open a flagship retail space in Chicago. A follow-up report now reveals that Google has canceled plans for its first store.
According to the Chicago Tribune yesterday (via Ars Technica), Google walked alway from a lease in Chicago’s Fulton Market district. The publication last August described it as a “retail flagship” space:
The technology giant is close to finalizing a lease for almost 14,000 square feet on the first and second floors of several connected, two-story brick buildings between 845 and 853 W. Randolph St.
The two-level store would have been comparable to Apple’s higher-end spaces around the world. Google did not comment on the speculation last August, and continued to decline this week.
That site would have notably been located two blocks away from Google’s Chicago headquarters. The existing area is already home to other major offices, restaurants, residential towers, and premium shops.
The Tribune did not cite a reason for why Google halted plans despite being “close to finalizing a lease” last year. That space is now being marketed to other tenants according to the report, with Google’s retail future up in the air.
For Google, this marks another canceled retail plan for a dedicated, year-round space. Its existing retail strategy has focused on seasonal pop-ups during the holidays that do sell products directly to customers.
All three generations of Pixel phones have been accompanied by pop-ups. The Pixel 3 saw sites in both New York and Chicago last fall, while the Pixel 2 switched out the latter city for Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the original Pixel only saw an NYC location.
Given the vast number of devices in the Google lineup, a retail store would help the company provide a coherent vision for how phones, speakers, and Chromebooks fit together. Meanwhile, other efforts in retail have included pop-ups focused on a sole product, like the Pixel 3 or Google Home Mini.