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Nike has plans to open store dedicated to its Jordan brand on Walnut Street

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Philadelphia appears to be the first domestic stop for Nike’s Jordan-branded World of Flight store.

The footwear and athletic apparel maker has its sights set on 1617 Walnut St. in Rittenhouse, according to documents submitted to the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The World of Flight store would be the first in the United States and the fourth globally — pending other plans that have not yet surfaced. It is dedicated solely to Nike’s Jordan line of shoes and streetwear. 

The 2-story, nearly 7,000 square-foot retail space was built in 1921 and is located next door to New Balance’s store. In its submission to the Historical Commission, Nike’s developer for the project, MBH Architects, described how it wants to install a new door on the ground floor with a security gate. Nike wants to take out the middle French door on the second floor and replace it with windows, though it plans to repurpose the door in the store’s design. There would be an illuminated Jordan Jumpman logo displayed from the inside of that new window, along with a smaller Jumpman above the main entrance.

A Nike spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the new store plans.

The Historical Commission recommended approval of the first floor changes, but recommended denial of the second floor changes because they would not preserve the historical character of the building. 

World of Flight rendering Walnut 1Courtesy/Historical Commission

Nike wants to remove one of the historic French doors on the second floor, replacing it with a double-paned glass featuring the logo.

World of Flight store 2 insideWorld of Flight store 2 insideCourtesy/Historical Commission

Jordan brand shoes and clothing will be available at the planned storefront at 1617 Walnut.

Nike opened its first Jordan World of Sports store in Milan in 2022, and locations in Tokyo and Seoul in 2023. The store is part of a larger direct-to-consumer strategy from the retailer. Ahead of the Milan store opening, Nike described the World of Sports as the “pinnacle retail concept” for the Jordan brand.

The Seoul store displays photos of Michael Jordan and the Air Jordan sneakers he wore while winning his NBA championship games, as well as images from the Japanese basketball comic strip “Slam Dunks” and other basketball inspired artwork. Shoppers also can create customized shoes and products at the store. 

Nike and Michael Jordan partnered to create the first Air Jordan sneakers in 1984, and in 1997, the company spun off Jordan’s shoe and apparel as their brand.

The space at 1617 Walnut St. has been vacant for about four years. It’s previous tenant was British clothing retailer Jack Wills.

The property was sold for $5.375 million in 2022 to a New York investor, and clothing brand Free People was reportedly set to move into the space. Free People has since opened across the street at 1632 Walnut St. 

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts inked an endorsement deal with Nike — specifically the Jordan brand — in August 2023. Nike also has a factory store at Ninth and Market streets in Center City, and just last week, it announced a Philly design for the Nike Kobe 4 Protro that will be released in the summer. 

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