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Byline: MICHAEL MARLOW
LOS ANGELES -- Rodeo Drive may be close to landing Calvin Klein.
The designer was in Beverly Hills last Friday looking at several Rodeo Drive spaces for a potential new store, according to sources.
Klein was said to be especially interested in the former Elizabeth Arden space at 434 North Rodeo. The space, vacant since 1990, is one of the few large sites left on the street. It has about 15,000 square feet.
One source said Klein's interest has thrown into disarray a tentative deal for that space with Joan & David, which has been looking for a spot on Rodeo for several years. Officials of Joan & David declined to comment Thursday.
"Calvin Klein would love to open a store in Los Angeles and New York," said a Klein spokeswoman Thursday. "He's always looking at opportunities, but he was in Los Angeles last Friday to see the new Barneys."
Klein's Rodeo visit was at least his second in six months. He was spotted walking Rodeo in October with developer Don Tronstein, who is the landlord for Giorgio Armani, Polo/Ralph Lauren and others.
Klein and Donna Karan have been the two most sought-after Seventh Avenue designers by Rodeo Drive developers.
Joan & David is often mentioned as a possible Rodeo tenant, but sources said Klein has become the primary target for the few remaining large spaces.
"There's no doubt he definitely wants a store on Rodeo," one source said. "It's a question of who will run it and where it will be."
In another development, Los Angeles designer Leon Max will open his first Beverly Hills store late next month in the Two Rodeo retail center. It will be on the center's Via Rodeo walkway between Jose Eber and Bree luggage and will carry the entire Leon Max collection.
Max, who has passed on a Beverly Hills store in the past, said Thursday he feels a new spirit in the city.
"Since Barneys opened, Beverly Hills has a nice sense of revival," Max said. "It's got a bustling feel."