According to a report out of the Chicago Tribune, Google is going to be opening its first retail store in Chicago. The newspaper reports that Google is looking to open its first retail store on the 800th block of Randolph Street in downtown Chicago. This would be right on the Chicago loop, and make it easy for just about everyone to get to the store. It's also just blocks away from Google's Chicago office, and Motorola's headquarters. According to the newspaper, Google is still finalizing the lease for this storefront, which is about 14,000 square-feet.
Google has been rumored before to be building retail stores, to compete with Apple a bit more than it currently does. A few years ago, Google was slated to open up a handful of retail stores, mostly in the larger cities. It also attempted to use barges as a retail store, before ultimately being forced to get rid of them in 2013. With Google expanding more into the hardware business with Google Home, Chromecast, Android TV and Chromebooks, it makes sense to have a retail store, instead of just a display at the local Best Buy store. Google has done pop up shops after its fall hardware events before, in New York City, and it typically brings in quite a few people to check out Google's new products. But to have a rather large retail location in downtown Chicago, that would be a much better thing for Google.
The Chicago Tribune did reach out to Google for comment, but Google gave the usual sentence about how it doesn't comment on rumors and speculation. So for now, we'll just have to wait and see what Google does plan to do with this location, if it is able to get the lease on this store-front. Imagine what Google could do with such a large space in the heart of the meatpacking district in Chicago. Which has been revitalized in recent years, thanks to Google bringing its offices into that area, as well as many hotels being constructed in the meatpacking district. And for Google to open a retail store there, it would really bring a lot of attention to the area. Though it would likely need plenty of work before Google could open the retail store.