Looking for us? We moved!


Its been a wish of ours for quite sometime to have a website that is completely devoted to development in the Duluth area. A site that is easily orientated so that you can quickly follow the projects you take an interest in without having to dig and search for your desired information. This wish we have had is a wish that finally has come true as we celebrate cdinduluth's 2nd birthday. We've officially launched a website that has given cdinduluth not only a new identity to call it's own, but more so important...a home.

We decided to make a bit of an upgrade this year! Ushering in with the new year is a new us! We've been rebranded, reimagined, and recreated in ways that we feel will allow our followers and visitors to interact with us. We hope that this site will better suite not only our needs, but the needs of those who follow us and our the developments we track.

This website is just the start of a new year for cdinduluth. Keep checking back as things will be constantly be changing, updating, and being refreshed on our website. It's a work in progress, an almost beta like version of what we hope will be a very successful future for cdinduluth.

Throughout the year we will continue to update the website with new features in order to better organize and display the amount of information contained here. Projects are constantly being introduced, updated and completed; we feel that the new format of our website will allow you to better engage and track those developments. Feel free to take a look around and even more so feel free to drop us a message in our Let's Talk section. We're all ears for progress!

Once again, thank you for taking the leap with us and for following us to our new website. If you haven't had a chance to like our facebook page, please click the facebook icon on the lower right hand side of our new home page to stay up to date with the most recent development news in the Duluth area!

-The Writers at cdinduluth

Click here to visit out new home!

Maurice's unveils new headquarters design

hq0114b_500px New designs have been unveiled for a $70 million project will be located on the 400 block of West Superior Street in Downtown Duluth. The project, designed by RSP Architects, had no formal name prior today's unveiling but now will be referred to as simply "Maurice's Headquarters." The building will stand 11 stories tall, 4 shorter than the 15 story structure that was originally planned. The project has also been downsized in square footage, down to 200,000 square feet of space from the 300,000 originally planned. Maurice's will occupy the upper floors, with levels three through six housing a 500 space parking ramp that will be owned by the city of Duluth. The street level will be home to retail space and one of those spaces will be home to National Bank of Commerce's new branch office; they'll move a few blocks from down the road when the space is ready in 2015. The additional retail space has yet to be committed to. It however will not be home to a Maurice's store as originally rumored, but rather a coffee shop and restaurant are hoped to fill some of the space.

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Members Cooperative Credit Union to build new branch

Members The long discussion of when and where Members Cooperative Credit Union will build their new branch in the Miller Hill Mall area is finally being solidified this week. Plans are going forward to the Duluth Planning Commission for the rezoning of a site in order to make way for a new branch to be constructed at 609 West Central Entrance. That's the site located in front of Cub Foods that currently houses a shuttered Midas Auto Repair shop. Midas had been in search for a new franchisee to take over the location for over a year now, with those plans never being fulfilled the site was up for grabs for new development.

It has been reported for a few years now that Members Cooperative was in search for a site to build a new branch near the Miller Hill mall. Currently they have a small location in the building in front of the Miller Hill Mall that also houses Firestone. Their location is so hidden it in fact often goes unnoticed to general public as it is tucked to the rear portion of the building.

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The Midas building will be razed to make way for a new 4,900 square foot, one story branch to be constructed on site. The design of the building will be far different from the location in Duluth's Spirit Valley. It will however feature three drive through lanes for the ease of access for it's customers, a convenience not found at their current Miller Hill area location. 19 parking spots will be included on site, 12 for customers, seven for their employees. The site redevelopment will also include a sidewalk to the front and left side of the site which will be in compliance with the future sidewalk to city plans to install on Central Entrance.

It was long rumored that the new branch was to be constructed in the parking lot in front of Shopko, an outlot site had been marketed for development for many years, a site that Members Cooperative had apparently been in negotiations for for quite some time. The Midas site however features much better exposure and far easier access for Member Cooperative's customers as it is tucked right up next to Central Entrance.

Our view. This will do wonders for this area. Residence Inn really set a momentum of new development in a portion of Central Entrance that had remained stagnant development wise for much of the last decade. The Midas building itself was beginning to look run down and did not attract much business with it's direct competitor, Tires Plus, located next door. We think that this branch hopefully will continue to solidify greater development in this sector of the Miller Hill Mall area. There still is an out lot available ideally for a retail store/center or restaurant to be developed to the right of the Residence Inn project, along with a few acres of land directly across the road available for commercial development. The city's future plans for this area see a live,work, play community that features a combination of retail space and residential dwellings in buildings directly abutting Central Entrance. The hope is to make a walkable community. If that plan can come to fruition it would create quite the entrance to Duluth's largest and most successful retail district.

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Duluth Trading Company to finally call Duluth... well... home.


You'd think a company that originated out of Duluth and even bears the city's name in its name would have a retail presence here. Well... guess again. Duluth Trading Company  is that company, for the moment, that was started in Duluth in 1989 and still has yet to have a physical retail store within the city. If you're not familiar with the company, we don't blame you. The have a curtailed clientele we'd say. They largely go under the radar because business actually is going so well for them that they truthfully don't need much advertising. So what exactly are they?

As mentioned before, the company started in 1989 in Duluth.... and well... instead of us explaining the story to you, Duluth Trading Co. has actually created a rather savvy and unique graphic to explain their history. We put it below for your own enjoyment. After all, who doesn't like learning from pictures?

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For those who enjoy a condensed down version of their history in words... we've got you covered.

In 1989 two Duluthians who happened to be brothers created "The Bucket Boss", a durable canvas tool organizer that could fit on a drywall bucket... making the lives for construction not only easier, but cleaner. The kept designing products and soon came out with a catalogue called "Portable Products." The catalogue consisted of eight pages and was purely built for expanding the traditional ways of tool organization. What we personally love about Duluth Trading Co. are the qwirky, and well done we might add, images that cover each advertisement and catalogue. They truthfully define the image of Duluth Trading Co. The man who does them goes by the name of Rick and is a close friend of the two brothers and still is the creative sole behind their marketing today. What's unique about the origins of this company is that their first official headquarters was actually a refurbished barge on the waterfront of Lake Superior. Now that's what we call creative.


In 1993 the brothers decided to expand their product line, resulting in their company being renamed "Duluth Trading." Every single product produced by the company was designed and tested by tradesmen. The company changed hands and the next product to rise to success, a product that put Duluth Trading Co. on the map, was the creation of the Longtail T Shirt. That's right, the t-shirt with an extra three inches of fabric to cover up the plumbers... well... ya know. It solved the dilemma that seemed to plague plumbers for decades.


Today their headquarters are found in Bellevue, Wisconsin where they have a 140,000 square foot warehouse and a state of the art call center. The company even introduced women's clothing in 2005 for those women who desired workwear that could meet their standards of work. No more flimsy wear. And yes, the women's wear is tested by real woman too and even accounts for 20 percent of the business! In fact the first women who ever saw the women's line of products were those women who lived in Duluth. They were the first to receive the catalogue with women's wear!


Today the company has four retail locations. There is a flagship store in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, along with a historic waterfront location in  Port Washington, Wisconsin,  and there's even an outlet store in Belleville, Wisconsin. But hey! Where are the Minnesota stores? After all, didn't this company start in Minnesota? Just last year Duluth Trading Co. celebrated the opening of it's first Minnesota location in Bloomington, MN. And no, it's not in the Mall of America, rather it's a few miles away at the bustling corner of 98th and Lyndale Avenue. And boy is this store big, to be honest, this technically is the new flagship location as it boasts over 14,000 square feet of retail space (Mall of America size mentality rubbing off??). That's a whole lot of space devoted to crafty products.


That still left the question though as to when in the world this company would make it's way back home. The answer is this spring. Duluth Trading Co. has officially announced that after almost 25 years in business they will finally call Duluth home. A lease has been signed for a historic location in downtown Duluth in the bustling and thriving theater and arts district on Eastern Superior Street. We couldn't have picked a better location for them. They particularly liked the Woodrush Building due to it's historic characteristics. Tall ceilings, tall windows, and a brick facade, all on a bustling corner and in close proximity to Duluth's tourist destination; Canal Park. Where could there be a better location? Apparently Duluth Trading Co. had been in search for a site to call home within Duluth for the last six months, but had actually had plans for a Duluth store for quite some time now. The space they will call home is a 7,000 square foot shop, similar in size to all their Wisconsin locations, in the 99 year old Woodrush building in the 300 block of East Superior Street. Executives felt that Duluth was finally the right move after the sheer success seen at it's Bloomington, MN location. That location in fact is doing so well that they are looking to add another Twin Cities location soon.

Here's why this company is great news for Duluth. First off, it's always great to have a Duluth company make a firm commitment by literally stamping their footprint of approval on the city with a retail presence. It further establishes their belief in the city and makes the city unique in it's retail offerings to both tourists and residents alike. We pride ourselves on locality and what makes Duluth unique; the people who live, work, and call this place home. Another great thing about Duluth Trading Co.'s store is that they will be filling a vacant space that really has never been used to it's full potential. From the day the building was renovated in the late 2000's, we always imagined some type of retail or restaurant filling the space. For a while the was a rumor that Hooter's even was interested in the location, but sadly we never saw anything retail or restaurant related enter the space. It was home to various tenants such as Charter Communications, an Obama Office during the elections, the company 50 Below, and others; yet, the building was craving a retail tenant. Sitting directly across from the Sheraton, kiddie corner to the Greysolon Plaza and a mere block down the road from the bustling restaurants of Zeitgeist Arts Cafe and Tycoons Ale House, the space was always destined for more. Finally the space will have the tenant it deserves. What is the best news out of this whole deal is the fact that this will solidify the future of this area, not that it hadn't already been. Having a high profile destination retailer in the area like Duluth Trading Co, there will only be an increase in demand for retail space by other corporations in the area. This new retail store could in fact spurn a surge of retail development in the area of retailers who are hoping to feed off the traffic and success of Duluth Trading Co.'s retail store.

So here ends our lengthy article on the official announcement that Duluth Trading Co. will be calling Duluth home this coming Spring. We hope we've answered all your questions and ultimately hope that we have created a sense of excitement within you. Spread the word. Build momentum. And let's usher in Duluth Trading Co. with wide open Duluthian arms!

Dunkin' Donuts looking to enter Duluth market.

dunkin-donuts Yes. You read that title correctly. Your donut craving eyes and stomach have not caused you to hallucinate, but rather to see reality. Quite possibly the most famous donut and coffee chain in the entire country, even the world, is looking to enter the Duluth market... and it could all be yours. Yes. You could be the one responsible for bringing Dunkin' Donuts to Duluth.

It was reported in 2008 that Dunkin' Donuts was looking to enter the Minnesota market, but plans seemed to fail without an aggressive approach and  no interest from investors. The company had closed their last Minnesota store in the early 2000's. The talk that resumed in 2008 that there was a revival in the near future for the Dunkin' Donuts chain caused excitement in what seemed to be every corner of Minnesota. Dunkin' Donuts was looking now to gain control of the market directly after Krispy Kreme's departure in 2008 and Minnesotans were hungry for donuts in a virtually donut less environment. Then the recession hit hard and it's now been almost six years that we have still been searching, stomaches grumbling, for that delicious donut to fill our sweet tooth.

News recently broke out that the company is once again quickly looking to enter the Minnesota market. However, plans have changed, and boy have they changed for the better for us Duluthians! Dunkin Donuts has established that the Twin Cities market along with the Duluth market are where they desire to open their first Minnesota stores. They are looking for 10 franchisees in Minneapolis and for as many as five franchisees for the Duluth market. Yes people. This town could soon be home to five Dunkin' Donuts locations. But there is a catch. They need your help. Send them sources for investors! Talk to your friends and coax them into wanting to own a delicious donut and coffee emporium. You'll do us all a favor. That's the way you'll see your favorite donut shop popping up on the corner.

So whats the big deal about Dunkin' Donuts? People seem to obsess over it. You mention the double d's and it's practically as if people faint to the floor. Their a little like Walgreens when it comes to their expansion plans in larger cities... you'll find one on every corner... maybe sometimes even two to a block. Their ambitious in their plans and they have reason to be as they are... well... basically glorified by the masses. It's the fact that the company is a double whammy when it comes to sales. It's not just the fact that they have delicious donuts... it's the fact that they have the delicious coffee to go along with it too. It's created great success for the company. 1950 marked the birth year of Dunkin' Donuts, today they have over 15,000 locations in 37 different countries. Their menu seems to continue to expand with each new year, now including over 1,000 items.

Now what exactly does it take to open an iconic shop like Dunkin' Donuts? Well... continue reading and we'll tell you. Feast your eyes on the process. First you need to select an available market, good news for you is that not only is Minnesota an available market, but you have over 85 available counties to choose from. If you're looking to open shop in Houston or Winona county... your luck has run dry as those are already reserved. The interesting thing is that St. Louis County is the only county marked for future growth. Special treatment? We think so. The company must have changed plans recently and have yet to update their website. The next step in the process of owning your dream donut shop is to have experience. No, you do not have to have owned a Dunkin Donuts before in your life, but food service, or retail management is a plus. Third... you've got to have a passion for the donuts. You must live by the donut ways and dedicate yourself to serving not only the perfect donut, but also that delicious cup of coffee to go right be side it. Lastly, you've got to have the moolah... we're talking about a good amount of money here people. Requirements will vary depending on your market, but the lowest is that of $250,000 in minimum liquid assets and $500,000 minimum net worth per unit (store). Start saving those dollar bills now, it all will count eventually.

After reading the above statements, we know what your thinking to yourself. "It's funny. I happen to live in Duluth, love donuts... actually glorify them, and happen to have ohh... $250k sitting around." Well then, we think a match was just made in donut heaven... and you're in luck. Dunkin Donuts will hold a Minnesota conference for potential investors on January 21st. We think it's in your best interest to attend. Just imagine... driving up that steep hill past Spirit Mountain with thousands of Dunkin' Donuts fans cheering you on from the sidelines of the freeway... shouting your name. Now we can't guarantee that type of send off, but we can do our best to try.

So long story short, encourage your neighbors, friends, and family members, to look at opening a Dunkin Donuts in the Duluth area. They'd do us all a great favor and we'd be eternally thankful. Heck, why not get your kids in on the deal. I mean really... what kid is going to deny you their allowance for endless donuts? Point. Made.

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Renovations galore!

It looks like lately it's been time for an update for most retailers in the city. It seems as if with the surge of new names entering the market that tenants that have called Duluth home for many years now are taking the time to spruce things up. Duluth welcomed one of Taco Bell's very first locations of its new prototype last year. Taco Bell completed an extensive remodel at its 1031 W. Central Entrance location, a location that had been open for almost 20 years with no update whatsoever occuring. Patrons will be pleased with the new location, a remodel that had been in the works since the early 2000's. Sporting a very modern look, complete with glowing LED panels covering the facade, no more is there the bright orange southwestern look of Taco Bell's past, rather a clearly modern image has been introduced to give the chain new life.

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Another fast chain is almost done with the renovation of two of their Duluth locations. Burger King has taken on investing over a million dollars into it's location in order to update them to the current Burger King prototype. The new interiors take a modern approach featuring modern faux leather seating, stylish light fixtures, and various uses of sleek tile as accents. The locations are also one of the first fast food retailers in the area to use digital menus (TV screens). Gone is the brick, the bright blue accent colors, and the sloped roofs, now the exteriors feature stone, stucco, and warm neutral tones with red becoming the new accent color. The locations on Central Entrance and also out on 21st Avenue West were both remodeled as part of an extensive rebranding of Burger King's image in Duluth. You have to remember that McDonalds in the past three years invested significantly in remodeling their Duluth area locations, including the rebuild of two locations, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Burger King is upping their anti. Burger King has invested $1.5 million in the renovation of the two locations in Duluth, and will invest $1 million more in the rebuilding of the London Road location. That location will be smaller than the current location on site at roughly 3,700 square feet. The move is taking place so that a retail strip center can be constructed on site which will house four new tenants to the area. The new Burger King will be a little more embellished than the two remodels we are assuming in the fact that it will take on the full Burger King prototype being displayed across various locations in Duluth.

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We posted a few months back on American Eagle Outfitter's remodel that will be occurring at the Miller Hill Mall. Now that the holiday season is over, the remodel is ready to begin. Look for work to begin this month with a completion date set for Late March / Early April 2014.

Storefront at Killeen Mall in Texas, Duluth's will be loosely based off of this design.

Qdoba location confirmed?

Well... it looks like BlueStone may have confirmed that official location of where Qdoba in Duluth. That's before officials from Qdoba even could. Don't be too surprised, because it's the exact location we posted a few months ago. We've attached an image so you can see how the shops will be arranged in the new Shops at BlueStone development. They're expected to open in February and March, with the Tavern on the Hill restaurant opening this summer. The Shops at BlueStone are 100 percent leased now. You know what that means... there's a demand for future growth. We should learn in the coming months what the next plans are for the development. Keep in mind there still are two more residential developments planned. There was suppose to be only one more commercial component to the development, but now that it has been decided that the former Woodland Middle School will be demolished, plans include more retail space... over 40,000 square feet more. Site plans show development of a potential pharmacy... CVS? Along with a grocery tenant... Trader Joes? The rumors are swirling around. We'll keep you informed as always.

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Kwik Trip confirms second Duluth location

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(Both locations will sport the similar looks of the above 2014 prototype)

Look for not one, but two Kwik Trip locations to begin construction soon in Duluth. That is if they're approved by the city of Duluth planning commission. What may be most surprising about the two locations is that they are a mere mile and a half apart. That's right. A mile and a half. As it's been mentioned before, Kwik  Trip really likes to secure a market when they make their first presence. Rochester alone has over 12 locations, and they are continuing to expand.

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(Grand avenue site aerial)

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(Site rendering above the proposed Kwik Trip at 4219 Grand Avenue)

We posted a few weeks ago about the first planned location at 4219 Grand Avenue where there currently is a vacant church and a vacant gas station. Those plans are correct in the fact that Kwik Trip will bulldoze all structures on site and build Duluth's first official location there. What we failed to catch onto was the fact that there was an additional location, on an almost identical site (which may be the reason for such a quick development of the second site) a short distance away.

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The second Kwik Trip location is planed for 2716 West Superior Street. That's a site that currently houses North West Plow and Auto company. If you still can't quite figure out where we are talking about, think the site that's across from Quizno's and Little Caesars near the Post Office.

Both sites will be going before the City of Duluth's planning commission in the coming weeks for approval.Construction could begin this winter still, with an opening occurring in early summer. Don't forget there also are two locations planned for Superior (with a third under development), with two other locations rumored for the Duluth area. The only area that seems to be lacking plans for a Kwik Trip is the Miller Hill mall area. We can only assume those plans are somewhere in the works.

Here's our two cents on this. We think it couldn't be better news for both areas. Kwik Trip really is making an effort to take sites that are currently underutilized or are in poor shape regarding the structures on site and really turn them around into something positive. Yeah, we understand that when it comes down to the grand scheme of things, it's still a convenience store and gas station, BUT, things could be worse. You could have a fast food giant such as McDonald's setting up shop on each of these corners. The one that we really are excited about is the Superior Street location. That area really hasn't seen much development within the last decade at all. The site that Kwik Trip will be occupying really is need of an update and we think something fresh will do wonders for the whole image of the neighborhood. People also need to remember that Kwik Trip is known also for their almost market type offerings within their convenience stores and often are really liked by the communities in which they locate. So what could be so bad about another shop in the neighborhood offering milk, butter, and eggs for an insanely cheap price?


98 room hotel proposed for Maple Grove Road site

A 2.5 acre site that has sat vacant for the last decade may see new life soon now that plans for a new 3 story, 98 room hotel have surfaced. The site located at 1805 Maple Grove Road in Duluth currently has only one structure on site, a vacant church, that will be demolished in order to make way for the new hotel structure. If you still can't pin point the site, it's located across the road from the former Pearle Vision and next to the former Tile Shop space (as you can tell retail has been struck hard in this area). Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 1.54.01 PM

So who will call the site home? La Quinta Inn and Suites is a brand that was founded in 1968 and is based out of Irving, Texas and currently has over 700 locations across the country and employs over 9,000 workers. The brand was typically found most in the southern and western portions of the U.S. until recently when their expansion plans began to ramp up. Currently there are three locations within Minnesota, Duluth would be the company's fourth.

What makes Duluth's location unique is that the company is choosing to introduce a few design alterations to it's typical hotel facade. Some may argue that it's even reminiscent of the "northwoods." The traditional southwestern "tower" that is found in the design of most of the company's hotels has been significantly lowered in order to comply with the city of Duluth's ordinances, while stone facades have introduced as new elements.

We think this is great news as far as development goes! It will add some life to the Maple Grove Road retail sector that many thought may die off once the intersection with Miller Trunk Highway was cut off. The site has been vacant for many years and this seems to be the perfect project to jump start some other developments on the area. With people staying on the section of roadway, it may intern attract restaurants and possibly even an additional hotel (there is 4 acre vacant site down the roadway a bit) that could even further spur development. This also is welcome news to the area after last year plans for a new Hampton Inn and Suites hotel behind the  Stone Ridge Shopping Center were scraped due to neighborhood resident concerns about the project.

If approved, construction could begin as soon as March.

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New restaurant announced for the Shops at BlueStone


(Rendering of Tavern on the Hill from Chequamegon Bay Group Inc.)

If you love the Blackwoods family of restaurants, you'll love what's in store as the newest component for the Shops at BlueStone. Last month the tenants for Phase II of the BlueStone development, the retail component named the "Shops at BlueStone," were officially announced. Tenants for that portion of the project include Duluth's third Starbuck's location (with drive thru!), Waxing the City, Chilly Billy's Frozen Yogurt, Northern Communities Credit Union, Sport Clips, and the Twin Ports very first Qdoba location (which has yet to be officially announced). Along with these details on the first phase of the retail component of the Shops at BlueStone development, it was announced that there would be additional phases of retail components to follow, the first being a free standing restaurant on the upper side of the site that would hopefully open this summer. Well, work on the foundation officially began last week, so it's about time we report the news of what exactly is going in!

Get ready to welcome Tavern on the Hill to the Shops at BlueStone. The new restaurant is technically part of Phase III of the BlueStone development and is being developed by New London Corporation. Yeah, we figure you probably aren't quite sure who they are. But, we probably can guarantee you've been to one of their restaurants before as they own the area's Black Woods Grill & Bar restaurants. They're also responsible for the renovation of the Greysolon Ballroom downtown (and currently own it) and also for the creation of Black Water Lounge (below the Greysolon Ballroom on Superior Street). So if anything, we can all rest assured that Duluth is about to welcome another quite classy dining establishment. 

So what exactly will be served? Just about everything. The restaurant will have a casual setting so it will appeal to both the residents in the area and also the students that UMD and other area universities/colleges. Get those stomaches ready to grumble as an extensive menu of burgers (including bison burgers), pizza, soups and salads will be offered. The restaurant will also serve sushi, panini sandwiches, and even vegetarian dishes as well. What might be the greatest gift of all to the next door BlueStone Lofts residents is the fact that Tavern on the Hill will have a "Grab and Go" menu also. That'll make it so customers have the ability to purchase desserts, pizza, and other "a-la carte" options while on the go, most likely running to that class you woke up late for but magically have just enough time to grab some grub. You can also order from the take-out menu for larger dishes to bring home for those days when you are especially tired from work or class and would just like someone else to do the cooking for once. The prices for lunch will be between the $6 to $10 range, while dinner will can cost up to $15 per person. 

Now on to the physical structure of the restaurant. It's quite a large restaurant... 10,000 square feet to be precise! Keep in mind that's roughly the size of a full blown Black Woods restaurant. That means they will be room for up to 100 jobs and that Tavern on the Hill will be able to seat over 350 people. Now that's a restaurant! The entire project is meant to be as energy efficient as possible too (go sustainability!). That means that thje restaurant will recycle as much as possible, use eco friendly packaging and locally sourced foods, among other things, even including dimmable parking lot lights. Tavern on the Hill will be split up into different dining rooms which can be reserved for gatherings and parties, similar to what you'd find at a Black Woods restaurant. There of course will also be a full bar with at least 25 local beers on tap (great for finals)... and for the outdoor enthusiast in many Minnesotans there will be an outdoor dining area that can seat 100 people, complete with fire pits and heaters. 

Tavern on the Hill will scheduled be open for business by June/July 2014.

More news on additional retail components will come in the coming months. The former Woodland School, which Mark Lambert (the developer of the project) was hoping that one of the area colleges would take over and use for additional space, will actually be razed in the coming months. More retail is planned to be built on that portion of the site. Rumors are already swirling that a grocery store or pharmacy is trying to be lured as one of the new retail components. We've even heard a Trader Joe's could possibly be en route! As always, we'll dig and see what we can find out and be sure to let you know right here at cdinduluth!

More details emerge on Qdoba location

More details have come out about where Qdoba's first Northern Minnesota location will open up. While it is obvious that it will be in the city of Duluth, rumors have been swirling that the fast casual restaurant chain has been looking at sites all over the city. Specifically rumors have been coming in strong that Qdoba will be the burrito tenant for the final available retail space in the Shops at BlueStone. Well, we did some searching and talked with a few different sources and here is what we found. Qdoba officials have confirmed that the Duluth location will be "within walking distance of UMD" but that they also were still not ready to 100% confirm the exact location of the deal. We think it's pretty obvious now.

While there is another potential site available within walking distance of UMD, we feel that it's a no brainer that Qdoba would go after the Shops at BlueStone space first. We've also had this rumor confirmed by a few other sources who say they have been told that the Qdoba deal is 100% official. We reported a few months ago that we thought the burrito restaurant locating in the Shops at BlueStone may in fact be another Chipotle. While our opinion has been swayed now, Chipotle sources are still saying that people shouldn't be surprised if they see another location open next year in Duluth.

Regardless, let's just be happy our burrito cravings are about to be filled... by two delicious burrito making joints.

It's your turn...

  This time we'd like to hear from you!

Feel free to fill out the contact form below (don't worry, we won't send you spam) with suggestions for new articles, comments about the blog, tips on new coming developments... really, anything you'd like! We're hear to listen and here to work for you!

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Kwik Trip prepares to make their first claim in Duluth

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(Potential Kwik Trip locations planned for Twin Ports area)

News broke this past year that Kwik Trip was planning on making a rather extensive leap into the area. The La Crosse, Wisconsin based company has aggressive plans for the Northland... where it says it could add 12 stores alone in the Twin Ports. Kwik Trip announced last year that it had plans for two stores in Superior; one on Tower Avenue and North 28th Street and another on the corner of Banks Avenue and Belknap Street. Another location was added to their development plans this past year at the site of Nemadji Travel Plaza, which will be completely razed to allow for construction of the new store. Demolition has already begun at some of these sites, but no official construction on physical store structures will begin until the spring of 2014.

But how does this relate to Duluth? Well, there's been quite a few rumors swirling around about where the first Kwik Trip might open. Duluth itself actually has three locations that are almost set in stone that will be developed for new Kwik Trip locations. We reported that the Burger King on London Road in East Duluth is slated to be razed in order to make way for a new Kwik Trip. Although official plans have yet to be presented, we have sources that confirm that this is still the goal for the site. As with many companies expansion plans for Duluth, Kwik Trip is hoping to establish a location in each of the three major areas of Duluth (West, East, and the Miller Hill area) all by the end of 2014. The other location that has been added to the rumor mill recently is that Kwik Trip will be constructing a location up the Miller Trunk Highway (actually in Hermantown) in front of the new Sugar Maple Crossings retail center that was recently completed. That's the center that will be housing the first Dickey's BBQ restaurant in the area and already houses Crossfit Duluth and Fastel. We're looking into this rumor more and will hopefully have news on it soon.

Kwik Trip Grand

What we really are here to report today is the specific location that Kwik Trip will present to the Duluth Planning Commission this next week for their first official Duluth location. As the trend continues with retailers entering the Duluth market, Kwik Trip is planning on setting up shop in West Duluth on Grand Avenue. The site (outlined above) is situated between 43rd Avenue W and 42nd Avenue W and currently is home to Christ Lutheran Church and a vacant gas station. The church is looking to sell due to a smaller congregation and no longer having the need for such a large space. Kwik Trip plans to raze everything on the entire block  up to the alleyway and construct their first Duluth location if rezoning and the plans are approved by the city of Duluth. If you still can't pin point where this site is, it's right across Essentia Health's West Duluth campus.

We'll look into finding the specific details about the development of Kwik Trip's first Duluth location and will be sure to bring them right here to cdinduluth as soon as we find out. Until then, the Twin Ports can begin preparations to welcome potentially SIX Kwik Trip locations to the area.

Get those burrito smackin' lips ready. It's time to get your grub on.

ImageIt's official. After years and years of Duluthians wishing, hoping, dreaming, even pleading with two specific burrito joints about coming to Duluth... the prayers have been answered. Those petitions have not gone unnoticed! We reported last month that Chipotle planned to construct a store at the Miller Hill Mall and we can officially say today that our word was true (as we always try to be). Original rumors were that Chipotle was going to build a free standing location in the malls front parking lot, however the exact location within (or outside) the Miller Hill Mall still has yet to be announced. Chipotle officials have confirmed that the Miller Hill Mall location will open in March 2014. This comes just a day after Chipotle's competition Qdoba announced that they too are opening a restaurant in the Duluth area in 2014. It looks like there's about to be a burrito showdown in the Twin Ports... but let's be honest, that's never a bad thing.

As always, we'll keep you updated with the latest news as we find out!

Until then... Happy Burrito Dreams.

Is a burrito showdown about to occur? One chain makes their plans public.

Well. Looks like one burrito joint has made it's expansion plans to Duluth public.... And let's just say if the Chipotle rumors are true, there's about to be a burrito showdown. Qdoba Mexican Grill has officially started looking for managers for their new Duluth location that will be opening soon. We heard a few months ago that there were plans for a Duluth location, but to be honest, this one slipped right under our burrito loving noses! The exact location still is up in the air, however some sources are saying that Qdoba may in fact be the burrito joint planned for Bluestone Lofts and that Chipotle plans may have fizzled. We keep hearing contradicting sides to the argument and have yet to have a 100% on which oversized and deliciously made burrito restaurant will be opening in the space. However, if you have managerial experience and are a burrito connoisseur, the perfect job is now available for your enjoyment.

We'll be back hopefully tomorrow with the exact location in which Qdoba will be opening it's Duluth restaurant. Our tastebuds can hardly wait to have those delicious steak queso burritos in such close distance! 

Men's hair salon plans third Duluth location


With work just beginning on their second location in Duluth (at the Shops at Bluestone), SportClips has already laid down plans and has a lease in order for their third location in Duluth. Like most logical expansions in the Duluth area, companies try to get each of the three quadrants of the city covered (West, East, and Miller Hill). Naturally with the Miller Hill area being the last territory FOR SportClips to cover, that's where they have plans to open their third location! SportClips will open this winter in the space that formerly was occupied by Great American Bar and Grill. Yes, that's the space where Noodles and Company graced Duluth with their presence last year. The rest of the retail space available next to Noodles and Company was rumored to be leased out to a mongolian grill for a while, however those plans clearly fell through. Next rumored was the fact that Chipotle was going to open up in the space, but as we learned a few weeks ago, Chipotle supposedly has plans to construct a free standing location within the malls parking lot. With the space still being vacant, SportClips scooped up the prime spot and will open on the far right hand side of the space, nearest to Five Guys. Obviously expect a rebuild of both the interior and exterior spaces for SportClips new location. As for what will fill the remaining space between Noodles and Company and SportClips... we have yet to know! As always, we'll keep you updated!

French cosmetic chain to enter Duluth market


It's 150% official, an associate for Sephora says, that Duluth finally will be graced with the presence of the Sephora brand later this year. While the brand won't be opening an official stand alone Sephora store, they will be almost there with a location that will open inside JCPenney's at the Miller Hill Mall.

If you're unaware of the Sephora brand, you might want to take a seat while we describe to you the company that is taking the U.S. by storm. Entering the U.S. market in 1998, Sephora now has over 1,700 locations in over 30 countries wordwide. The average Sephora store carries over 100 different brands, including their own Sephora brand. But it's not just cosmetics we are talking about here. Oh no. They carry a whole slew of things. We're talking about haircare, skincare, body products, fragrances, color, and of course, makeup. Sephora locations quite possibly could be best known for are their extensive lines of perfume and colognes that they carry. And yes, they carry products for men too!

So now let's explain how Sephora could possibly enter the Duluth market.... without having an actual stand alone store. In October of 2006 Sephora began opening stores within JCPenny's across the country. While these locations within JCPenney carry a lot of the same makeup, skincare, and fragrances as the typical stand alone stores, they also carry some products that cannot be found in a traditional Sephora store. Currently there are almost 400 Sephora locations in various JCPenney stores across the country. Now just because these locations aren't a stand alone Sephora, that doesn't mean that you're going to miss out on the Sephora experience. What happens is basically an entire (smaller) Sephora location is literally built within JCPenney. You'll feel as if you've walked into a Sephora location.... while still remaining inside JCPenney. It's a win win for both corporations and goes along with JCPenney's "shop within a shop" concept that they have been rolling out in various locations across the country.

Below you'll find a gallery of Sephora stores within JCPenney.

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Here they are! The first retailers for The Shops at BlueStone!

Capture It's official! They've been announced... that is the first five retailers for the first retail component of Bluestone Commons. If you're a Duluthian, or you've been following cdinduluth for the past year (which hopefully you have been, if not you should), you've heard quite a bit of talk about BlueStone Commons. This is the development that is taking shape at the former site of the Woodland Middle School (and some adjacent land off of Woodland Avenue). It's been in the works for about three years now. The first official component of the development, BlueStone Lofts, a 99 unit, $16 million building, opened this past month and is already 90 percent leased. There are plans for two more additional phases of housing that would bring the total number of residential units in the development to over 250. So now on the the tenants. Are you ready? Here we go.

ImageOh yes. We know this is one that particularly excites us, although we do love our local coffee brewers too, shout out to Alakef and the Duluth Coffee Company. So, when BlueStone started looking for retailers to fill their retail spaces, we guessed this one from the beginning as we need college students are in constant demand of coffee. Yes, BlueStone will officially welcome Duluth's third Starbucks location this February. Duluth currently has two Starbucks locations, unless you want to count the counter in Barnes & Noble as a third. The company was suppose to construct a new stand alone location as a replacement to the current Miller Hill Mall area location, complete with a drive-thru, in the Hanson Center development that is taking shape at the site of the former Ground Round, but those plans fizzled. As a result of their plans fizzling, the space was made available and the concept of Panera Bread opening was born. We'd don't think that's a bad trade off. However, plans must have been focused on the new BlueStone location this past months which explains why we haven't heard any news on the new Miller Hill location. While some Duluthians are grumbling (not in their stomach) at the fact that another chain coffee shop is opening in Duluth... We beg to differ. If this shop shapes up as we expect it to, you'll see a whole new side to Starbucks that you've never seen before. Since both of the other Duluth locations were constructed, the company has rolled out many new store designs. The new design features create intimate spaces for reading, use a wide variety of woods, metals, and stones, and really just make the place, to sum it up in a single word, look "classy." What's even more exciting is that Starbucks likes to theme locations that are close to universities. For example, if you've ever visited the Starbucks on Washington Avenue near the University of Minnesota, you'll find a 100% Goldy Gopher approved place.  We suspect that Starbucks will retrofit their newest Duluth location with mementos and nodes not only to the Duluth area, but especially to the UMD community. Starbucks plans to open in early February 2014.


Northern Communities Credit Union will be opening their third Duluth branch location in the Shops at Bluestone this coming Spring. Currently their Duluth locations are near the intersection of Arrowhead and Arlington and also off of Grand Avenue.  The location will feature all the banking needs a student in a financial crisis could need all within walking distance and backed the expertise of a banking savvy company that dates back to 1928! Northern Communities Credit Union also has a Virginia / Mountain Iron location and is open to any person that lives, works, worships, or goes to school within St. Louis County. Northern Communities Credit Union plans to open in April 2014.

ImageIt's time for another one! Less than a year after opening their first Twin Ports location on Grand Avenue in Duluth, SportClips is already expanding with a new location set to open this February in the Shops at BlueStone. This shop will be very similar to their current location out on Grand Avenue in Duluth. As mentioned before in our post, SportClips is all about basically what its name describes. Sports..and hair clipping. It's a place geared towards men, but that doesn't mean that women or children are not welcome! Now, that just wouldn't be right. So come this February, make a pit stop after coming home from class. Set your bag on the floor, grab a soda from the fridge, and sit down in one of those comfortable SportClips chairs...because it's time to get those overgrown, luscious winter lochs cut. SportClips plans to open in February 2014.

ImageSo the men living at BlueStone Lofts get a shop totally geared towards them, so why don't the women? Well. They do. Introducing Waxing The City, a specialized salon for all your waxing needs! The company begin in Colorado in 2003 in a single room when the founders realized the salon industry was ready for a specialization to occur... and waxing was where it was at! Since then, Waxing The City has grown to 8 locations in Minnesota, Texas, and Colorado. The company currently only has two Minnesota locations; one in Woodbury and another in Maplewood. What is Waxing The City all about? Come on. If you haven't gotten it by now we're a little concerned. Waxing being the key word here.... meaning the company specializes in facial and body waxing. Waxing The City prides themselves on their convenience and affordability, oh yes, and also on a "no tipping policy," which is often unheard of in the salon industry. Obviously that's a good thing for the wallets of college students that will live in close proximity to the salon. It allows them to make "waxing a lifestyle, not a treat" according to their website. Waxing The City provides services on a three tiered price plan pertaining the the experience their cerologist has. And just to let everyone know, Waxing The City provides services for women AND men. No gender exclusion here! Look for Waxing The City to also open in February 2014.

ImageFro-Yo lovers. Your prayers have finally be answered. Almost two years after it was first announced that Duluth was finally to get a frozen yogurt joint (Cherryberry), Duluth is finally getting a frozen yogurt joint. And in our opinion, it's one of the best. If you've attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in the last two years or if you even have a child that currently attends the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, you've probably heard these two words. Chilly. Billy. For college students at the Minneapolis campus, Chilly Billy's isn't an obsession, it's a way of life. A way of life that is making its way up to Duluth to inspire the thousands of college students to.. oh no.. not study hard, but take on the life of a yogurt connoisseur. What exactly is Chilly Billy's? Well, it's a Minneapolis yogurt shop with a single location in the Dinkytown community. When developers said they wanted to have BlueStone be reminiscent of what the Dinkytown community felt like... well... they hit the nail on the head by introducing a Chilly Billy's into the retail mix. In Dinkytown, it seems as if every pedestrian on the street is walking with a Chilly Billy's cup. Heck, maybe even Goldy himself! The company is NOT a franchise and instead was founded in April 2011and serves the frozen yogurt brand "YoCream," which apparently offers health benefits not found at other yogurt shops. Chilly Billy's has five yogurt machines typically, each with three spouts. The two end spouts produce single flavors, will the middle spout produces a swirl of the two flavors. That means at any given time, a customer has 10 flavor options, or 15 total flavor options with the mixtures! We know what you're thinking. Yum. Once you've dispensed your carefully selected flavors, you can chose from over 50 toppings at the toppings bar. Literally there is every topping your heart could desire. When you're finished creating the one yogurt concoction your stomach has been dreaming about since birth, you pay for it by the ounce. Chilly Billy's will open for business in March 2014... until then, our excitement cannot be contained. AH!

But wait. What about? Oh no. Is not true? But you guys posted about it last week?! WHERE IS THE CHIPOTLE NEWS!

Right here.


While it wasn't officially announced today as the lease was not 100% percent completed, we still feel confident in our news that Chipotle is planning on being the 6th and final component of this first retail phase of BlueStone Commons. Here's why. The Duluth News Tribune themselves reports that a "yet-to-be-revealed restaurant probably offering Mexican food - also will open next year." Now if that isn't a hint... we really don't know what else could be. Well.. actually we do because there was another. If you watch the news clip by WDIO pertaining to the BluesStone development, Mark Lambert is quoted in saying "burrito lovers will be pleased" about the restaurant that fills the sixth and only remaining space. Is that a big enough hint? We don't think it would make sense the Burrito Union would open another location so close to their current location. It also doesn't make sense for a Qdoba to open in Duluth as they are not even currently looking at the market. Needless to say, we still feel confident in our news that Chipotle will be opening in BlueStone Commons in the fall of 2014. We'll keep you updated as always!

And lastly...

Apparently a new restaurant will also be constructed in this phase of the retail components at BlueStone Commons. The restaurant will be a larger sit-down restaurant and could be completed by Summer 2014. What restaurant will specifically open in the new space is not being publicly announced yet. However, a few months ago it was said by the developers that it would be a local restaurant. Any guesses?

As always, be sure to check back to cdinduluth for more updates!

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That grumble that's been in your stomach... it's about to filled!

What in the world could fill the 1,000's of grumbles coming from the empty stomachs of Duluthian's for years now? Well. It's a place we're pretty sure every Duluthian has been wishing, hoping, praying,  and even trying to persuade with money, to open in the area. Yes. This is the post. Yes. Chipotle has finally put Duluth on their expansion map. We've been hearing rumors for the last couple of years that Chipotle was planning to enter the Duluth market with a location near the Miller Hill Mall. That seems to be the safest area for a new restaurant or retailer to enter the Duluth market we've all learned in the past few years. It's often said that whenever a Noodles and Company opens up, a Panera Bread and Chipotle are soon to follow. It's like they are a set of triplets, obviously not identical, rather fraternal... if that's even possible in the world of food. Noodles opened its first Duluth location last year, with Panera Bread officially announcing its first Duluth location this past spring (which is under construction right now), and if the timing is right (which we feel that this might be for real this time) Chipotle should be announcing something within the next two months. On a side note pertaining to Noodles and Company... they're doing well. As in extremely well. As in one of the top performing locations in the country. As in we are beginning to hear talks of another location opening in the area. What's better than one Noodles? Two. Duh.

But back to the deliciousness of Chipotle. Where, oh where, could this jewel of an eatery be going? We've basically heard every possible location in the city over the past few years. From West Duluth to East Duluth, Canal Park to Superior Street, the airport area, to even the food court. Over time we've been able to come in close contact with various sources... and our most recent source maybe the most verified relayer of Chipotle information that we have ever encountered. So you probably are curious as to where this is going? "Cut to the chase already" is probably what you're chanting. Calm down... and let your eyes feast on the words below.

Sources are beginning to confirm that Chipotle plans to open at the Miller Hill Mall in late 2014 / early 2015. What is surprising about this news is that they are not planning on opening in the most logical spot. The spot we're referring to is the vacant space next to Noodles and Company. No, apparently the mall still is in negotiations on a lease for that space (we're not sure if it's still a Mongolian Grill joint as they had originally spoken of). Instead Chipotle wants a 100% custom built location, which probably makes sense as Duluthians have been waiting what seems to be a lifetime for the mexican grill chain to make its way north. After all, they do have over 40 locations in Minnesota. It's about time they share the love. What sources are saying is that Chipotle will soon be presenting plans to the Duluth Planning Commission for a new free standing building to built in the front parking lot of the Miller Hill Mall. Sources have said that they location would be built in existing parking area to the left of Pioneer Bank.

This is still a developing topic obviously, but we are happy to say that we actually feel quite confident in this news. As with any news (we try to bring you the first retail development news always) there are small chances that something could go wrong. However, the sources we are dealing with are saying that this will be verified in the next two months and an official announcement will come soon.

Great news , right? We think so (and so do our bellies).

It gets better. What our sources also confirmed is that Chipotle really is excited to come to Duluth. As in extremely excited. They know the city will welcome Chipotle with wide open burrito loving arms and that's why they've already started floating plans for a second Duluth location.  Can you guess where? Eh, let's just make it one Chipotle post and tell you right now! After what has seemed to be a year of speculation about this site, sources are confirming that Chipotle is eyeing a space within the Shops at Bluestone (the retail component that will be constructed in front of the recently constructed Bluestone Lofts off of Woodland Avenue in 2014/15). The area is a big draw for Chipotle obviously due to the high population of college students, many which come from a place that already has a Chipotle location. So needless to say, they're hungry. The second location's details are a little more fuzzy and have yet to be confirmed. However, we will keep it on our radar and be sure to post whatever updates we can.

As always, we'll make sure to bring the first news on Chipotle whenever we can get the details right here to cdinduluth! Until then... start working on those belly exercises to expand those stomachs.... because behemoth  burritos are coming to town.

Hello Again.

And we're back! It's been far too long since we last posted and we think that's a problem... That's why... you guessed it... a post is on its way to the comforts of your computer screen ! It's some rather exciting news. No really. It's pretty much the post that many lovers of this "place" have been waiting for years. Check back soon! Until then, let your mind run wild and your hands get clammy with anticipation!