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That's Our Bag on Michigan Avenue Closes, for Real, To Make Way for Tower

 The North Michigan Avenue store closed for good at the end of August to make way for a new development.
The North Michigan Avenue store closed for good at the end of August to make way for a new development.
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DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman

THE LOOP — That's Our Bag on North Michigan Avenue is really closed this time.

The discount luggage shop at 200 N. Michigan Ave. shut its doors at the end of August and stripped its shelves this week after 33 years at the corner of Lake Street, according to a post on the store's website.

But many Chicagoans — who say they have seen "going out of business" signs at the store for years or even decades — said they weren't convinced the store was closing until the storefront was actually bare.

"I didn't believe them at first," said Wanda Williams, who works Downtown and eats lunch most days in the Illinois Center plaza, which faces That's Our Bag across Michigan Avenue. "That sign had been up there for so long, I started thinking 'Oh, they just put this up there to get more business.' They've had those signs up forever."

Carlenn Dickey works at 70 E. Lake St. near the luggage store and said that the shop has had so many "going-out-of-business sidewalk sales" that she, too, scoffed at the recent signage insisting that the store was "Closing This Location" and had "Lost Our Lease," she said.

This time, it wasn't a bluff, and the store's neighbors will likely have to follow suit soon, as plans move forward to build a 515-foot tower with 432 residential units and nearly 25,000 square feet of retail space in place of the current building.

Last week, developers from the John Buck Co. made a pitch to area residents for a new mixed-use building at Lake Street and Michigan Avenue at a meeting hosted by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).

"I think everyone can admit, this is a corridor of Michigan Avenue that could certainly use some work," Reilly said. "Any new development on this site is going to bring a lot more light, activity and security" to the area.

But the alderman emphasized that the plan was still in its early stages and would likely be scaled back before construction begins in March. The old building is slated to be demolished in December.

Officials with That's Our Bag did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but the store's website announced a new location planned for the Roosevelt Collection at 150 W. Roosevelt Road. No opening date was provided.

Dickey said it was only a few weeks ago when she began to question if the store might really be moving.

"They had a sign saying that they were selling the fixtures, and I was like, well, I guess this is the finale," she said. "If they're selling the fixtures, you know they're serious."

The bag store operates a second Loop location at 38 S. Michigan Ave.