A prime stretch of Back Bay real estate will soon go from Balenciaga to batting cages.
Dick’s Sporting Goods plans to open a “House of Sport” experiential sporting concept at the former Lord & Taylor on Boylston Street in Back Bay, launching a jobs website heralding: “We’re building a new experience in Boston.”
“The new DICK’S Sporting Goods House of Sport will open at the Prudential Center in Boston,” the website reads.
The Boston Business Journal first reported the news. Dick’s Sporting Goods declined to comment, as did Boston Properties, though the landlord said this week it had “commenced redevelopment” at 760 Boylston Street on behalf of an unnamed tenant who had leased the entire building.
Dick’s launched House of Sport in 2021 in Victor, N.Y., outside Rochester, with features including a running track, rock-climbing wall, batting cage, golf simulator, and putting green, along with apparel and other merchandise. The retailer has opened additional locations in Knoxville, Tenn., and Minnetonka, Minn.
“DICK’S House of Sport will explore the future of retail through multi-sport experiences inside and outside the store, broad integration with the community, elevated customer service that will rely on passionate and skilled employees and enhanced technology for ease of connection with the brand,” the retailer said in a release announcing the first store.
With its turf fields and running tracks, Dick’s House of Sport is part of a larger trend, as retailers increasingly look to create experiences in their storefronts.
Installing a climbing wall is a way to compete with online sales, drive foot traffic to physical stores, and create social-media worthy moments that can help promote their brands. It’s also a way to make use of a massive footprint — selling handbags and blazers out of an 118,000-square-foot storefront isn’t as viable today.
Beyond the House of Sport at the base of the Pru, Boston Properties is betting big on experiential at the top of the tower as well. The office developer is hosting marketing tours through “View Boston,” an observatory with “immersive experiential exhibits” on the top three floors of the Prudential tower that was formerly home to the Top of the Hub restaurant and event space. “View Boston” is on track to open later this year.
“The city of Boston is gearing up for tourism, and we’ve seen a big response from that sector,” said Bryan Koop, a Boston Properties executive vice president, to analysts on Wednesday. “We feel awesome about how it’s turned out. It’s just spectacular.”
Meanwhile, at three vacant Lord & Taylor locations at malls in Braintree, Natick, and Burlington, plans are underway to convert the former stores to life-science laboratory space, while Sears stores across the region are undergoing changes to uses including labs, gyms, restaurants, and more.
Janelle Nanos of the Globe staff contributed reporting.
Catherine Carlock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bycathcarlock.