CONFIRMED: JERSEY MIKE'S TO OPEN DULUTH LOCATION

  Vacant storefront where Jersey Mike's will be located /// Google Earth

Vacant storefront where Jersey Mike's will be located /// Google Earth

A national sub chain is coming to Duluth. Cue the drooling. 

Jersey Mike's will open what will be their FIRST Northland shop at 905 W Central Entrance in the Stone Ridge Shopping Center the company's website recently confirmed. The new sub shop will be located in the former home of "The Smoke Shop" which moved to a new location.

Now you might be saying to yourself, "Oh great, another sub shop."  You also might be thinking, "What makes Jersey Mike's any different from let's say... Jimmy John's?" 

THE DIFFERENCES

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One: Jersey Mike's doesn't make "freaky fast" deliveries like Jimmy John's. They actually don't deliver at all. 

Two: They serve breakfast subs.

Three: They keep it simple and fresh.

The restaurant specializes in submarine sandwiches that are made to order and offer them both hot and cold (there are wraps too). Jersey Mike's various meats and cheeses are sliced when ordered instead of being pre-sliced like many of their competitors. You can also get the subs topped "Mike's Way" which includes sliced onions, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, oregano, salt (spices) and something called "The Juice" (red wine vinegar and olive oil). Last but not least, Jersey Mike's has become well known for their cherry pepper relish.

SOME HISTORY

Jersey Mike's began as a "Mike's Submarines" in 1956 in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. In 1956 Peter Cancro got a job there and in 1975 he and a friend bought the company. In 1987 they began franchising the restaurant that was now named "Jersey Mike's". Today there are over 1,200 locations (21 of those being in Minnesota) and hundreds of new locations are also in development. Fun fact: In just the last five years the company has almost doubled their store count.

Jersey Mike's in Duluth will open this Fall. The company and local franchisee have yet to release a set date.

 

RETAIL AND RESTAURANTS PROPOSED FOR W CENTRAL ENTRANCE SITE

Duluth's retail core may become even more... retail... That is if one developer's plans are approved by the city.

Launch Properties is proposing a new commercial development at the corner of W Central Entrance and Anderson Road. The development company is currently building a commercial development across the street that will include an Aspen Dental, a new Starbucks location, and additional retail space ideally situated for a restaurant.

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Plans for their next commercial development include 17,200 square feet of commercial space. That space will be broken down into three different buildings that will in the end include both retail and restaurants depending on how leasing pans out.

Currently plans show a 6,800 square foot building that would house one retail space and two restaurant spaces. The next building include a freestanding 2,700 sqf restaurant building that would have a drive through (Raising Cane's, please). Lastly, there would be a 7,700 sqf building that would ideally be split between one retail space and two restaurant spaces.

Entry to the retail development would be provided by a one way access from W Central Entrance heading towards Downtown. Both entry and exit lanes would also be available off of Anderson Road. 128 surface parking spaces would be provided within the commercial project.

Launch Properties' proposed commercial development is heading through the City Planning Commission at their September 11th meeting. If you'd like to provide input on the project before then a meeting with the developers will occur today at 5:30pm at the Duluth Heights Community Recreation Center (33 West Mulberry Street).

No tenants or renderings for the project have been released yet. The expected timeline for construction is Spring 2019 through Summer 2020. As more information is provided we will be sure to post it here at The Development Tracker | Duluth. 

 

CARIBOU COFFEE PLANNED FOR CENTRAL ENTRANCE

 Former BP station during partial demoliton ///  Mix108

Former BP station during partial demoliton /// Mix108

There has been a question circulating around town for the last few months. What is happening to the former BP gas station at 2 E Central Entrance? Two words. Caribou Coffee.

Local developer Kleiman Realty is currently renovating the building in preparation for Caribou Coffee to set up shop. This will be Caribou's seventh Duluth location and it will be just one mile from the Stone Ridge Shopping Center location and less than two miles from the Miller Hill Mall location. We've reached out to Caribou Coffee to see if this by chance might be a relocation but chances are that it is most likely not.

Why not? Competition is getting hot.

Recent additions to the area such as Dunkin' Donuts and the ever so present chance that Tim Horton's might enter the market are really changing the market.

To make things worse for Caribou Coffee, Starbuck's has recently been investing significantly in new locations within the area. Just a few years ago they opened a new location along Woodland Avenue, remodeled their Downtown location and later this year will open a new location along Central Entrance (no word either on if that will be a relocation of the current location along Central Entrance or not). Recent news we've heard is that three other locations might be introduced within the Twin Ports within the next two years.

  Inspiration for new Caribou Coffee interior design /// PR Newsire

Inspiration for new Caribou Coffee interior design /// PR Newsire

Currently the details on the new Caribou Coffee location are scarce. Multiple permits have been pulled out for the renovation and work has been happening for the last few weeks. A Fall opening is expected.

Whether or not this location will be a dual branded store like ones that have previously opened in Duluth is unclear. Caribou Coffee recently made some revisions to their expansion of the Coffee & Bagels chain where they partner with other chains such as Bruegger's or Einstein Bagels (among others). The partnership is still happening but going forward there is much more of an emphasis on the Caribou Coffee part of the partnership.

We will keep you all updated with any additional details that we become aware of. Until then, dream of those Northern Lite Coolers that might just be a step closer to you depending on where you live.

 

TACO BELL PLANS GRAND AVENUE LOCATION... AGAIN.

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Once upon a time on December 21st, 2015 we reported that Taco Bell was coming to Grand Avenue in West Duluth. Then nothing happened. #wahwah

Sometimes plans fall through and we are truly sorry for that.

Good news though, plans have been revived for a Taco Bell on Grand Avenue but this time around it's planned for a new site at 4426 Grand Avenue. While the address states that it is on Grand Avenue the site is actually tucked behind a Subway location and will be accessible off of N 44th Avenue W. Currently the site is a gravel parking lot.

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The Grand Avenue location will be a 2,723 square foot building that will have a drive-thru and a parking lot with space for 23 vehicles. 

Believe it or not, it may actually be a good thing that the first location wasn't constructed when it was originally proposed in 2015. Why? Taco Bell has come out with a whole new design for their stores since then that has re-energized the brand and created a great space to dine and hangout in.

Taco Bell has a great article on their website about the four new store designs that they introduced for their restaurants. The designs are mean't to play off the neighborhood and vibe of the city. What this allows for is a unique experience for customers that will differ from each Taco Bell they visit.

Taco Bell currently has one Duluth location on Central Entrance while another location is also currently being constructed on London Road in Duluth at the corner of London Road and 21st Avenue E. A location also recently opened in Cloquet.

Both of the new Duluth locations are being developed by Marvin Development IV, LLC.

 

 

 

 

SEARS AND K-MART ARE CLOSING. IS THERE A SILVER LINING?

 Sears at the Miller Mall Mall |  MPR News

Sears at the Miller Mall Mall | MPR News

A closing is never good news, let alone two announced in a single day.

That's what happened yesterday when Sears Holdings announced that not only would the Sears location at the Miller Hill Mall be closing, but also the K-Mart in West Duluth on Central Avenue.

The two closings will result in a loss of a number of jobs in the city and will also introduce nearly 200,000 square feet of available retail space into the Twin Ports market.

Sounds terrible, right? Here's why you might want to begin looking at these closings a little more lightly. There's a silver lining, even if it doesn't seem that way at the moment.

Sears

Sears originally opened their Miller Hill Mall location in 1986. The store is a single level space that covers around 110,000 square feet and has entrances from both the mall and parking lot. That's quite a bit of space when you consider the mall itself is only about 830,000 square feet in size.

An interesting fact about the Sears space is that Sears Holdings actually OWNS the store and the land underneath, meaning they control the exterior, interior, and the surrounding parking area. Today the site is estimated to be worth around $3.6 million. 

Now, let's talk about why Sears owning the land is a good thing. It means they have to sell. Selling could mean to another retailer, which is probably unlikely as most retailers these days are not tending to make investments in real estate, or it could mean selling the space to Simon Property Group, the owner of the Miller Hill Mall.

$3.6 million is a small investment for a company like Simon. In addition, buying the former Sears space would allow the mall to take over more retail space and expand the mall which is currently near full occupancy (minus a few small retail spaces).

So, what would Simon do with the space if they did happen to buy it?

The options are endless.

What would most likely happen is that Simon would redevelop the space into more retail space, similar to what they did about a decade ago when they redeveloped the former Walgreen's space at the front of the mall into a number of different retail spaces. This would result in an updated exterior, new parking lot, and a number of new retail spaces (H&M there'd be room for you too).

Another option is that the mall could try to reposition the space as something entertainment related, a huge trend with redeveloping malls lately. That could mean a entertainment center of some sort, like Dave and Busters, or a movie/dining experience such as Alamo Drafthouse.

Lastly, the mall could try to subdivide the space or lease the space out to another large retailer. Believe it or not there are still some big box retailers that are still expanding and waiting for space like this.

In addition, if the mall is touching the Sears end maybe this will be the time for a full mall renovation. Simon is known for completing full renovations of malls while repositioning vacant anchor spaces.

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What about Kmart?

The closing of Kmart is without a doubt a major hit to the West Duluth neighborhood. It introduces a major void to the surrounding community which will lack a general merchandise retailer (i.e. clothes, food, household products, in one place) that is easily accessible. Another problem is that it introduces around 80,000-90,000 sqf of new retail space to the area.

But wait, is that a problem?

It might not be as the space being introduced is perfect in size to house a single or multiple retailers and is in a great area.

Some retailers that could set up shop in the space that come to our mind are Aldi, which has been actively scouting for another location in Duluth, or something along the lines of a small format Target. Target has been opening a number of small format locations across the country recently with a number of them being in former Kmart locations that have recently been vacated. 

While the closure will certainly cause disruption to the neighborhood, a silver lining is surely in store (literally). Now we're just playing a waiting game. DTA, can we get some more transit options to over the hill for the time being?

ZEN EYE CARE PLANS SPRING OPENING

Zeneyecare Cover.png

Come this Spring, a new eye care option will be available for Duluthians and the surrounding communities when Zen Eye Care opens in Duluth.

Located at 2106 London Road, Zen Eye Care will be the third tenant to open in Endi, a new mixed-use development that recently was completed on the corner of London Road and 21st Avenue E. Endi's developer, Harbor Bay Real Estate, had set out on a mission from the very conception of the project to attract businesses and services that would benefit not only its residents, but also the surrounding community.

Zen Eye Care will do just that. 

A DIFFERENT STYLE OF EYE CARE

The concept of "Enlightened Vision" is what will set Zen Eye Care apart from others. It is mean't to create a mindful experience in three main ways: by making the process more Efficient, more Personalized, and more Meaningful for their patients.

Efficient:  Zen Eye Care welcomes the digital age by using the smartest portable, integrated, and accurate hand held technologies to create a streamlined eye exam. The optical eyewear inventory consists of well-researched trending shapes for men and women with the idea that they carry more colors in the better shapes.  The optical will have an in-house lab to cut lenses on site.  Zen Eye Care’s location provides convenient access, parking, and store hours.

Personalized: The concept of mindfulness during each visit is meant to concentrate on each individual relationship.  This is an Eastern concept whereby visitors are served tea and meant to relax, have a conversation, and make a friend.  Every patient will get a take home summary of their exam and will also be able to access their records on a secure patient portal any time they need it. The patient portal will also allow patients to schedule future exams at their convenience.  

Meaningful: Zen Eye Care has established what they call the Zen Initiative.  With this initiative Zen Eye Care makes donations to local non-profit programs based on a percentage of the dollars each patient spends. The cool thing? The patient decides where it goes.  Products are sourced from independently owned companies and are chosen based on environmental impact and sustainability.  All of the eyewear comes with a story of how they make a global impact.  All visits are meaningful to Zen Eye Care and hopefully to each patient, because every dollar spent tells a story of how they are benefitting the local community.  Every frame purchased will tell a story of how Zen Eye Care will help make an impact in the world. 

Eric Bohjanen, Doctor of Optometry and Don Quada, Certified Optician are two guys from the Midwest who sat down after 16 years of experience in the eye care industry and combined their talents to create this entirely different model of eye care.  The idea was to create a model that could give a one-stop full service eye exam and optical experience while also benefitting the community.  More information will be available on their website at zeneyecare.com once the clinic opens this Spring.

Zen Eye Care is currently under construction and will be located just a few doors down from Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bagels at 2106 London Road.

 

BLUESTONE COMMONS PLANNING BIGGEST PHASE YET

An aerial showing a mass diagram of the final phase of BlueStone Commons | Duluth Planning Commission

BlueStone Commons final phase of development will be its largest phase yet.

The final phase, tentatively called BlueStone Vue, might actually give a little more meaning to the word “view”. Developers last year stated that they were working on plans for a mixed-use building that would include at least 100 residential units along with an undisclosed amount of retail.

While it seemed at that time that developers were proposing a building that would be comparable in size to BlueStone Lofts and BlueStone Flats, the other two residential buildings within BlueStone Commons, we see now that plans have grown significantly.

Plans have been submitted by the developers to the City of Duluth’s planning commission requesting a height variance for the site. Plans show an 11 story residential building standing 123’ feet in height along with a larger retail building sitting adjacent to the residential tower.

Now before you think that might be out of a scale for the area, take a look at the site section diagram below. There you will be able to see that the building would actually be no higher than the tallest adjacent buildings such as the Mount Royal apartments and the Grigg's residential hall at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

A section diagram showing the height of the new building with the surrounding buildings in the area | Duluth Planning Commission

Doran has constructed a similar residential building in both size and function within Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood called “The Bridges.” It too stands 11 stories tall and features 211 residential units aimed at students enrolled in the University of Minnesota. It seems that Doran might be looking to take a similar route with a building of the same scale here at BlueStone Commons.

MORE RETAIL

As mentioned above, there will also be retail space within the final phase. It appears that there will be a larger amount of retail than originally expected as mass studies show a big box anchor retail space that would be constructed in front of the new residential tower. While no specific details have been made available regarding the size of the retail space it looks to be around 25,000 square foot (think about the size of a Michael's store) and also seems to be designed for one large retailer.

Now what could that tenant be? It seems logical that BlueStone Commons could see the addition of a grocery store of some type within the development. Developers had stated years back that they would like to lure something along the line of a Trader Joe’s or Aldi to the site, something that would benefit not only the residents within the project but also the surrounding area. 

Requests for more information have been sent to Doran regarding this new exciting project. The project will officially go before the Duluth Planning Commission at their November 15th meeting.

 

ALDI FILES PLANS FOR DULUTH STORE

Aldi in Superior, WI | CDINDULUTH

Aldi is moving forward with their plans for a new Duluth location.

The discount supermarket chain has filed their plans with the City of Duluth's planning commission for an 18,553 square foot freestanding location at the corner of Mall Drive and Mountain Shadow drive. The store would utilize the chains most recent "version 7.0 prototype" design.

Aldi announced their interest in the Duluth market nearly two years ago. Their first Twin Ports location opened at 4429 Tower Avenue in Superior last November and has been a great success. That success immediately had Aldi working on plans for a Duluth location. The chain says Duluth could even hold the possibility for more than one location in the future.

In Duluth Aldi will occupy a space at the Village Mall that is currently a parking lot in front of Hobby Lobby and Savers and adjacent to Grandma's Restaurant.

Right now the Village Mall shopping center is going through a renovation including a completely new parking lot, a new facade for Savers that will match Hobby Lobby's, and also the addition of a drive through drop off area for Savers. PetSmart also has plans to open at the center and is currentlyconstructing a 19,000 square foot store in the remaining Kmart space next to Hobby Lobby. That store is expected to open in Spring 2017.

More details on this exciting project will be made available soon.

 

F.Y.E. TO OPEN MILLER HILL MALL LOCATION

  A newly opened F.Y.E. location at Crossgates Mall   |   F.Y.E.

A newly opened F.Y.E. location at Crossgates Mall  |  F.Y.E.

A new entertainment store selling music, movies, games, CDs, DVDs, vinyls, fan merchandise and more is about to make the Miller Hill Mall it's home. F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment) will open the doors to it's new store on October 21st.

The entertainment retailer will be moving into the space that was left vacant when Wet Seal closed their location at the mall after the company declared bankruptcy. It's been almost two years since Wet Seal's closure and that space has yet to find a permanent tenant... until now that is.

A BLAST FROM THE PAST?

Now if you are thinking to yourself that F.Y.E. reminds you of a retailer that went by the name of Sam Goody (which had a location at the Miller Hill Mall about a decade ago) then you're on the right track. Why? Well, F.Y.E. is what Sam Goody turned into.

Both companies were owned by Trans World and in 2006 it was decided that Sam Goody would cease operations with a large number of their locations closing, including the one at the Miller Hill Mall. The locations that did remain open however were rebranded as F.Y.E.

The former Wet Seal space | CDINDULUTH

Interior of a new F.Y.E. location | F.Y.E.

A NEW LOOK FOR F.Y.E.

F.Y.E. struggled after the recession in 2008 like many retailers and closed a number of underperforming stores. In recent years the company has been looking for ways to stay competitive in the market and in 2015 revamped their image and their store offerings by introducing an entirely new F.Y.E. store. 

Today customers will find not only CDs and DVDS but rather tons of pop-culture merchandise and a large selection of vinyls. That large selection of vinyls is one of the biggest things that has put F.Y.E. back on the map in recent years. As all styles and trends come into the spotlight again, vinyls have ultimately swept the stage becoming extremely popular with the millennial generation.

F.Y.E plans to open their Duluth location later this month with the Miller Hill Mall mall officials stating Friday, October 21st as the anticipated opening date. Once open it will be the first location for the retailer in Northern Minnesota and their second in Minnesota.

 

Crooked Pint Ale House plans Duluth location; New tenants announced for Kenwood Village

  Crooked Pint in Minneapolis  |  Crooked Pint

Crooked Pint in Minneapolis | Crooked Pint

Twin Ports Residents, raise your glasses. A new pub is coming to town.  

Crooked Pint Alehouse, a nouveu styled urban pub, will open their first Northern Minnesota location at Kenwood Village come Summer 2017. The 4,958 square foot location will take up the largest ground floor retail space and will feature a patio with seating for 76 on the corner of Arrowhead Road and Kenwood Avenue.

Cooked Pint is a Minnesota chain of restaurants based out the Twin Cities that currently has 4 locations within the state. They’re known for their pub fare and for having a huge selection of beers on tap with most locations having atleast 32 available.

  Layout for the Duluth Crooked Pint location  |  Duluth Planning Commission

Layout for the Duluth Crooked Pint location | Duluth Planning Commission

Now while the restaurant may be a chain, you’ll most likely forget that when you step in the door. Crooked Pint restaurants feature rough-sawn oak floors and pub styled furniture. It’s meant to feel like a neighborhood restaurant and anything but a chain.

The Duluth location will feature a large bar centered within the room with seating for 30. We're sure this place will be a MAJOR hit with the local college students and residents alike.

ADDITIONAL TENANTS

Two additional tenants were also announced for the Kenwood Village development when the developer filed their plans with the Duluth Planning Commission. Those plans will go under review at next weeks meeting.

Kenwood Village Development | Duluth Planning Commission

Little Caesar’s will open their second Duluth location on the ground floor in a 1,291 square foot space. The first location for the company in on Michigan Street in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The new location is expected to open in Spring of 2017

Duluth Teachers Credit Union will move their location from 1358 West Arrowhead Road into a new 2,271 square foot space on the ground floor. The new branch is expected to open sometime in 2017.

Don't forget the other previously announced tenant. Caribou Coffee and Einstein Brothers Bagels will open a dual branded location within development also. The 2,500 square foot location will be located on an end-cap on the ground floor and will feature a drive-thru.

One remaining 2,300 square foot retail space is available within the development. Could our dreams of getting a second Chipotle location come true? Let’s cross our fingers.

 

SEARS HOLDINGS LISTS DULUTH PROPERTIES

Sears has made three new "opportunities" available within the Twin Ports for retailers, developers/investors, and real estate brokers.

Sears Holdings Corporation, the real estate portion of the Sears/K-Mart company, has made available last three properties within the Twin Ports. This includes their 86,611 square foot K-Mart store at 215 North Central Ave in West Duluth along with their 98,938 square Sears store and the attached 9,131 square foot automative center at the Miller Hill Mall.

Throughout the state of Minnesota Sears Holdings has listed 11 K-Mart stores, 2 K-Mart Automotive Centers, 10 Sears stores and 10 Sears Automotive centers as available. Overall 33 properties were made available within Minnesota, one of those properties being the Sears flagship location at the Mall of America.

Available Sears Auto space highlighted in red

A CHANGE IN THE RETAIL GAME

As competition from online retailers and new retailers heats up Sears and K-Mart have seen a continued decline. This has resulted in a number of closings in the past few years with one of those being the K-Mart location near the Miller Hill Mall (now a Hobby Lobby and soon a PetSmart). More recently the company has begun to re-evaluate their company's real estate to see which properties the company can relieve themselves of resulting in large savings.

In some locations across the country Sears is downsizing their stores, many of which are over 100,000 square feet, to around 40,000 square feet leaving the rest up for redevelopment.

In some cases British retailer Primark is snatching up the extra space and opening some of their first locations within the United States. In others cases malls are using it as an excuse to expand their retail offerings with new retail space along with renovations.

NOW WHAT ABOUT DULUTH?

With the K-Mart space being listed in West Duluth it implies that that store would close. There is a chance the a real estate company could purchase the space and rent it back to K-Mart which would relieve Sears from a number of costs associated with owning a building rather than leasing it.

If K-Mart does close, it would be the biggest retail space to become available in the West End in decades and it would be a prime opportunity for a redevelopment and re-positioning of the Spirit Valley Shopping Center.

At the Miller Hill Mall the closing of Sears would be a major hit... or a major gain depending on the way you look at it. While the automotive center seems like it might be a little tougher spot to fill at it sits at the back of the mall, the Sears space is another story. 

You might not have noticed it but there is a MAJOR lack of space at the Miller Hill Mall recently. The downsizing of Sears or a closure could result in a huge opportunity for the Miller Hill Mall to expand it's retail space. 

All three spaces are available for inquiries here. In the future when more information becomes available on the potential future uses of these spaces you'll be able to find it right here on CDINDULUTH!

 
 

MILLS FLEET FARM TO OPEN TOMORROW

The day is here. Mills Fleet Farm will officially open the doors to their brand new Hermantown location tomorrow morning at 7am.

This will be the company's first Twin Ports location and second in the Northland. The 183,000 square foot store will open at the corner of Loberg Avenue and Market Street. The area surrounding it has been pegged as "Hermantown Marketplace" and is expected to see substantial retail growth in the future with Fleet Farm kickstarting that growth.

  Store map for Hermantown (same as Appleton, WI location)  | Mills Fleet Farm

Store map for Hermantown (same as Appleton, WI location) | Mills Fleet Farm

Hermantown's location will sell thousands of items including sporting and hunting goods, farm supplies, clothing, home improvement items, and much more. There's even a seasonal garden center. 

That's not all though. There's also an auto service department, outdoor lumber yard, gas station with 16 filling stations, a car wash and even a kerosene dispenser.

The new store will employee between 150 and 200 people and will be open Monday through Friday from 7am-8pm, Saturdays 7am-9pm, and Sundays from 8am-pm. The gas station will be open daily from 6am-10pm.

 

Punch Pizza may have Duluth in its future

Ever heard of Punch Pizza? If you said no, you're missing out. It's a local Twin Cities chain of fast casual pizza restaurants that are known for their neapolitan styled pizza.

Punch crafts their pizza the traditional Italian way, so well in fact that the company actually is certified V.P.N., a designation given only to a select few pizzerias outside of Naples, Italy who are the best of the best. 

Founded by John Sarrano, the first Punch Pizza location opened on February 5th, 1996 in St. Paul's Highland neighborhood. In 2002, after partnering with John Puckett and his wife (the individuals responsible for creating a little coffee shop called Caribou Coffee), Punch opened their second location. Today, there are nine extremely successful Twin Cities locations.

Nine locations? That's not the stopping point for Punch Pizza, oh no, that's just the beginning.

There's more to this place than just pizza

While Punch Pizza is obviously known for their delicious Neapolitan styled pizza that is cooked to perfection in an 800 degree wood burning stove in just 90 seconds, the company has also made the news, nationally we might add, for another reason. 

In 2013 Punch Pizza raised their minimum wage for all new hires to $10 in order to attract the best talent and ultimately retain the best talent within their restaurants. The move gained the attention of President Barack Obama who even mentioned Punch Pizza in his State of the Union Address that year. Since then the minimum wage at Punch has been raised to $11, above the state of Minnesota's minimum wage of $9.  

Now where does Duluth come into the picture?

This past week the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal published an article on the recent growth of Punch Pizza within the Twin Cities market along with some of the company's future plans. While Punch has added a number of locations in the surrounding suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the company has yet to venture far from home (St. Paul).

John Puckett stated in an interview with the MSPBJ that Punch will open their 10th and 11th locations in Eagan and Vadnais Heights come Fall 2016. After that the company will continue to look for additional growth opportunities with the next areas of focus being Duluth, Rochester, and even potentially out of state in Madison, WI.

Those cities, hundreds of miles away from the original Punch Pizza location, would happen if an ideal situation occurred (there's a lot of moving parts). Based on the success of Punch to date, there's no doubt in our mind that Punch will be able to make those plans come to fruition.

So consider this our heads up Duluth, years in advance.

If you go to Punch the next time you're in the Twin Cities we suggest trying the "Palermo" pizza (it's to die for). Oh yeah, make sure you don't forget to get that side order of focaccia!

 

PetSmart plans Duluth location

Rendering of the Duluth PetSmart location | Duluth Planning Commission

Fido need a new toy? Don't worry, soon there will be another retailer in Duluth for all your pet's needs. PetSmart is planning a 29,000 square foot location in what is the last remaining retail space available in the former K-Mart space at 1734 Mall Drive.

PetSmart currently has 16 Minnesota locations, most of which are in the Twin Cities. The Duluth location would be the first Northern Minnesota location. The company is a direct competitor to Petco, which currently has one Twin Ports location at the Stone Ridge Shopping Center, about a mile away from the planned PetSmart location.

What began as small retail company with two locations in 1987, PetSmart has since expanded to include over 1,400 retail locations in Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico. To date the company employs over 53,000 individuals and posted a revenue of nearly $7 billion last year. 

THE DULUTH LOCATION

In 2013 Hobby Lobby opened a 55,000 square foot store in part of the former K-Mart space, leaving 29,000 square feet of additional retail space located to the left of theirs available for lease. This space is where PetSmart plans to call home in Duluth.

Interior of typical PetSmart location | PetSmart

NCD Duluth SC, LLC has submitted plans that will go before the Duluth Planning Commission's meeting on May 10th that show PetSmart taking ALL of the 29,000 square feet of remaining space. This would be quite large for a PetSmart as their store locations tend to average between 18,000 and 27,000 square feet in size.

PetSmart is known as a "one stop shop" when it comes to pet needs. In addition to the thousands of pet products for sale and small animals and fish, some locations feature pet grooming while others also feature Banfield Pet Hospitals and PetHotels, a fancy name for pet boarding and daycare. Those last two features are what truly set PetSmart apart from their competitor Petco. 

The renderings for the Duluth PetSmart location show only signage for grooming on the exterior, typically all of the services mentioned above would have exterior signage. At the moment it is unclear if all services will be offered at the Duluth location however it is very likely considering how much how large the location will be.

We will have more information on those specifics soon.

MORE THAN JUST PETSMART

But wait, there's more.

Plans that will presented to the city also show alos a renovation of the current Savers storefront to match the Hobby Lobby and PetSmart storefronts. PetSmart and Savers facades are designed to match what currently is the Hobby Lobby facade.

The entire parking lot for what is now called "Village Mall" will also be entirely replaced with all new curves and pavement, quite a bit of foliage, and designated medians separating the parking lot into parking areas for each tenant instead of one large sea of parking spaces as it currently is.

The entry from Mall Drive and Maple Grove Road will also be enhanced resulting in Grandma's Saloon and Grill's parking area being separated by medians and foliage from the main parking area for Village Mall.

One interesting detail shown is a large area of parking that will not be replaced closest to Mall Drive and Mountain Shadow Drive. It's listed as a "future submittal" in the landscaping/parking lot plans.

Another interesting detail is the pylon sign for Village Mall that is planned for Mall Drive. It shows space for Savers, Hobby Lobby, PetSmart... and an additional retail space. Problem is is that there isn't another available retail space for lease as all all buildings will be 100% leased once PetSmart opens.

Landscape plan showing PetSmart location and area of parking lot to not be replaced | Duluth Planning Commission

FUTURE ADDITIONAL RETAIL SPACE?

So what does this mean?

The future submittal for "Parking Lot #3" could mean that the developer/property owner is possibly looking at constructing an additional retail building on the parking lot that is not slated to be replaced.

Parking Lot 3 lines up with the far edge of the current building on site and would be prime area for additional retail space ranging most likely in the 20,000-40,000 square foot range. This building would most likely "box in" the parking area.

The plans for Village Mall show 568 parking spaces once all lots are replaced which is more than enough space for the three retailers on site. This also would enough space to allow additional retailers to locate on site.

While plans have not been solidified for what is referred to as "Parking Lot #3" we will be sure to keep you updated if any future plans are released.

 

Build-A-Bear Workshop to renovate Duluth location

Build-A-Bear Workshop's newest store design | MDS

Build-A-Bear Workshop® is planning to freshen up their Miller Hill Mall location at 1600 Miller Trunk Highway by bringing the company's newest store design to the Twin Ports.

Planning for a Duluth Build-A-Bear Workshop® location stretches all the way back to 2011 when the company made it public that it was opening a location within the Miller Hill Mall. In October 2014 the Duluth location finally opened at the Miller Hill Mall in a space that formerly housed Torrid, a plus-sized women's clothing store.

When the construction barricades for Build-A-Bear Workshop® came down it was somewhat surprising to see that not much had changed architecturally from what was in place from the tenant before, which is very unlikely for the company's new stores. The company's signature yellow and blue tones covered the space in a fresh coat of paint, however the space didn't feature the whimsical bear land (to it's fullest extent) that customers often find within their stores.

THAT'S ABOUT TO CHANGE

On March 9th construction bids were submitted by various companies for $299,999 worth of work on behalf of Build-A-Bear Workshop® at the Miller Hill Mall. That's more than just some fresh paint on the walls. It's a full renovation.

Last year Build-A-Bear Workshop® debuted a new store prototype design that has now begun to be rolled out across the country. The company had previously been hurting in sales and was looking for new ways to engage customers, while elevating the brand. The solution was in their store design.

Build-A-Bear Workshop at Mall of America | MDS

Mall of America was one of the first locations to receive this design in the country. It's far more modern than the previous design and uses the blue and yellow colors in block formations. This means that instead of the facade being clad in both colors like it previously was, it now is clad in custom blue metal that was designed and crafted just for Build-A-Bear Workshop®. With the exterior being blue, the interior naturally takes on the yellow color, allowing the company to main their roots while introducing a simpler and cleaner look.

Duluth's 2,154 square foot location will be completely renovated from head to toe, well, ceiling to floor, including a new storefront and all new interior. Inside customers will be able to create characters by using a number of interactive stations along.

NEW STORE DETAILS

An interactive storefront will allow customers to engage with digital signage embedded in the facade that can change depending on the seasons, holiday, and special events. Directly inside there store will be the Choose Me station where guests will find all the characters Build-A-Bear Workshop® has to offer. From there they'll move onto the Love Me station which uses an interactive digital table that allows guests to add unique traits to a heart that is then placed within their character.

Hear Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Hear Me station uses an interactive touch screen with a number of sounds that can be inserted inside the character, even allowing guests to put their favorite music or their own voice on a chip that can be inserted into the character. How cool is that?

From the Hear Me station guests move to the Stuff Me station where their character is filled with stuffing and becomes that adorable, huggable character they've always wanted. New to Build-A-Bear Workshop® are SCENTIments, allowing guests characters to smell like bubble gum, strawberry, cotton candy, or even chocolate chip! Don't let the family dog get too close when you get home or you might find yourself visiting Build-A-Bear Workshop® again quite soon.

Logically the next step is to close the seams and complete the character. Here's what's REALLY cool. Build-A-Bear Workshop® now has a program called "Find-A-Bear ID" which inserts a barcode within each character. This allows the character to be reunited with their owner if ever lost as the person who finds it can bring it to any Build-A-Bear Workshop® and the owner will be notified. 

This barcode also generates a unique code that guests receive on their character's birth certificate... yes, birth certificate, that allows their character to come to life online where they can play games and do all sorts of things with their new friend.

Name Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Fluff Me station is where guest's characters can take a bath in a digital bath tub (hello 21st century) which can recognize items placed in it and response with sensory effects. Naturally the character will need some clothing because who let's stuffed animals go naked these days? Just visit Dress Me station which includes tons of character clothing and Match Me technology which allows guests to see what's new and also suggest outfits.

Last by not least, it's time to visit the Name Me station. Here guests use a viewfinder that reveals all the attributes and personality traits within their character. A name is picked and a birth certificate, which even includes a photo of their character, is created.

Now it's time to head home... but not too quick! Visit the Take Me Home station which resembles a Build-A-Bear Workshop Cub Condo® to receive your membership and reward program details, along with the birth certificate you printed, and of course the Cub Condo carrying case for your character to ensure they're safe for their travels back home.

You never know so much went into building a stuffed animal did ya? Now you know. 

Build-A-Bear Workshop® will most likely move to a temporary space within the mall while renovations are completed. Construction will begin this Spring with a completion in Summer 2016.

 

2100 London Road has a name... and retailers.

Duluth, meet Endi. It's the name for Harbor Bay's 2100 London Road (now 2120 London Road officially) project being developed at the intersection of London Road and 21st Avenue East.

It's a unique name... so how did the project get it? Well, it's quite simple actually. The project is named after East Duluth. A long time ago when Duluth was growing, East Duluth was actually a number of communities including Endion (coming from the Chippewa Indian language meaning "my", "yours" or "his home"). The neighborhood was also home to the Endion Passenger Depot. So, chop of the last two letters and you arrive at modern version of the name, Endi. The logo itself features a faded image of Lake Superior along with the coordinates where Endi is located.

The project, which has been under construction for about 8 months, is the first of it's kind luxury apartment project to be constructed in Duluth. The 6 story building will include 148 market rate apartments ranging from studios to two bedroom units along with a number of amenities including an amazing outdoor area. The building will also include 12,900 square feet of retail space... with some the tenants being... drum roll please...


THE FIRST RETAILERS

Caribou Coffee and Papa Murphy's.

Caribou Coffee will open a location on the ground floor of the project at the intersection of 21st Avenue East and London Road. This new retail location will be Duluth's fourth Caribou Coffee and will be the first to feature a drive through. It's been clear for almost two years now that Caribou was interested in locating at the site.

When plans emerged that a new development was to occur on the former Burger King site Caribou Coffee's name came up pretty quickly. At one point in time plans were submitted to the city of Duluth showing a new freestanding Burger King to developed on the property along with a freestanding Caribou Coffee. Not long after those plans emerged a new set of plans took the spotlight showcasing a mixed-use development by Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors. We always had our speculations that Caribou Coffee would continue to be part of the retail mix on site no matter what form the project took.

Construction work progessES at Endi | CDINDULUTH

The second retailer to locate in the project will be Papa Murphy's. The fact that Papa Murphy's will open another Duluth location shows their belief in the market. For years the company had a single location in West Duluth which was then followed by a location at the Kenwood Shopping Center near Super One. Both are still open today and this past fall a third, and much needed, location opened in the Stone Ridge Shopping Center next to... Caribou Coffee. 

While the exact locations where these retailers will be located within Endi has yet to be announced (Caribou is a given as there is only one retail space with a drive thru) we can begin to guess on how much space they will take up. 1,625 square feet is the size of a standard Caribou Coffee however the location proposed on this site previously was set to be 2,558 square feet. Papa Murphy's locations average between 1,200 and 1,400 square feet.

Add the extremes of those two numbers together and you arrive at 3,958 square feet of the original 12,900 square feet of retail space being filled. That leaves about 8,942 square feet (not be exact or anything) of space remaining. That's actually a good amount of space that could house a few other retailers or another retailer and a sit down restaurant.

It's known that Panera Bread, Chipotle, and Noodles & Company are actively scouting for new sites in Duluth for additional locations and all would be a perfect fit for Endi (all three could realistically fit). We're not placing any bets... but we're placing a bet... that there is a good chance that one of these restaurants might call Endi home in the future.


GREAT, NOW HOW DO I LEASE A UNIT?

We wish we had more details for you... and trust us, we're working on it. At the moment we have yet to hear how much exact units will be renting for within the building but what we can say is that is that the studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom units will be priced between $1,000 and $3,000 per month. 

Construction as of January 29th | CDINDULUTH

Leasing has yet to officially begin for the project but will in a few months. Move-in will occur in late fall 2016 allowing residents to settle in before Christmas. Those lucky residents will be able to enjoy "extraordinary finishes, fabulous amentities, and breathtaking surises over the lake" according to the Endi's website. Some of those amenities include a private outdoor deck with seating, fire pits, grilling stations, and yoga platform. You can visit Endi's website here and sign up to be notified when leasing begins.

Leasing for the project will be handled by Pinnacle Living who will also manage the property. Pinnacle began in 1980 and to date is the largest operator of multifamily housing in the United States with 135,000 units and over 3,000 employees spread across the country. 

As always, check back to CDINDULUTH for more exciting details about this project and others within the Twin Ports!

 



Blacklist Artisan Ales opening on Superior Street

Duluth knows how to do craft beer that’s for sure. This summer the scene will get even better when a Duluth favorite opens a new brewery and taproom in Downtown Duluth.

Duluth's newly designated HART District (Historic Arts and Theatre) on East Superior Street will soon be home to Blacklist Artisan Ales. The company announced that they will move their brewery from their current location at 211 East 2nd Street to 122 East Superior Street. The space previously was home to the Last Place on Earth and is now undergoing an extensive renovation after being purchased by Duluth-based Titanium Partners LLC last year.

Former Last Place On Earth building | Duluth News Tribune

Blacklist will occupy 5,700 square feet within the building and will act as the building’s flagship tenant. Plans for their space include not only a brewery but also a taproom for the public to enjoy their delicious brews. Currently Blacklist operates as a “gypsy” brewery meaning all their brewing and production occurs in rented spaces.

Started in 2012, Blacklist is owned and operated by Brian Schazenbach, T.J. Estabrook, and Jon Loss. The brewery prides itself on developing and brewing artisan ales. All three are quite talented individuals. Brian holds a World Brewers Certification from the Siebel Institute and most recently worked for the Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth while Jon is a cicerone… which means he is literally a certified professional on serving beer and pairing it with foods. T.J. on the other hand has an extensive background in taxation law and is listed as the company’s General Consul and Brewfit Visionary. Sounds to us like a team built for success.

Now let’s get this straight. Blacklist is quite the brewery when it comes to the beers they brew. It’s all in the ingredients which include grapefruit, green tea, lemongrass, and local honey among others. The move will allow not only for the expansion of production but it will also allow for the company to continue their experimentation with new ales.  If you want to see what they currently offer, visit their website here. If you don’t care… still visit it because it’s absolutely gorgeous.

The fact that Blacklist is coming to East Superior Street is great news for the continued rejuvenation of this portion of Downtown Duluth 

A new chapter for East Superior Street

In the past decade the area surrounding where Blacklist will open their new brewery has seen the addition of many new businesses and developments. Spearheaded in the early 2000's by Sherman Development's 11 story mixed use project including a Sheraton Hotel and condominium development, the area has continued to attract new businesses and development over the years.

Notable new restaurants to the area within the last five years include Zeitgiest Arts Cafe and Tycoons Alehouse along with the recently opened Lark Cafe. The Zeitgiest Arts building also house Zinema 2, a two theater independent movie theater, and also the Teatro Zuccone, a 120 seat performing arts space that is home the wildly successful Renegade Comedy Club. The company produces six shows a year and twice a week they host their IMPROV shows which are always a hit.

More recently Fond-Du-Luth Casino completed an extensive renovation to the interior and exterior of their space. Down the block the former Carlson Bookstore, now called The Lang Motors building, also is undergoing an extensive interior and exterior renovation.

What could be argued as the most influential and at one point, crucial, projects within the district is the renovation of the historic Norshor Theatre. Owned by Sherman Associates, the renovation and restoration of the theatre has been planned for years. After some setbacks and issues with funding work on the project is expected to begin this year with a completion planned for late 2017. When completed it will introduce a 700 state-of-the-art theatre to the neighborhood that will operated by the Duluth Playhouse.

 

 

 

 

St. Luke's plans new Miller Creek Medical Clinic

The corner of Mall Drive and Loberg Road is under quite the transformation and it's only about to become greater.

On one side Mills Fleet Farm is currently building a 200,000+ square foot retail store while near the opposite corner Holiday Inn Express and Suites is constructing a new 5 story hotel. The whole area has been pegged as "Hermantown Marketplace" by the city of Hermantown and in previous year saw the addition of HOM Furniture, DQ Grill and Chill, Subway and Volkswagon. It is expected to see the majority over Hermantown's commercial development over the next decade.

Site of the new Miller Creek Medical Clinic

St. Luke's also wants to become part of this growing area. Miller Creek Medical Clinic will move from their current location at 4884 Miller Trunk Highway near Lakes 10 theater in Hermantown to the corner of Loberg Road and Mall Drive. A new clinic will be constructed next to the Holiday Inn Express and Suites on what was the formerly the Eggebrecht Chevrolet car dealership.

We spoke with Sandy Barkley, St. Luke's Vice President of Clinic Operations, about the new Miller Creek Medical Clinic and what is in store for the project.

The new clinic is expected to open by year's end. While images are currently not available as it is still being designed by Duluth's DSGW Architects, the over all look and feel will be very similar to St. Luke's Lester River Medical Clinic. That clinic totals 9,700 square feet of space (less than half of what is planned for the new Hermantown Clinic) and was also designed by DSGW.

Lester Creek Medical Clinic  |  DSGW

Plans for the Hermantown clinic include a single story building that is about 20,000 square feet larger than the current Miller Creek Medical Clinic. The additional space will allow from the expansion of services currently present such as physical therapy and ophthalmology.

WHAT PROMPTED THE MOVE?

Ease of access was a large factor. The clinics current location requires patients to make a u-turn at the Stebner Road and Miller Trunk Highway intersection. While patients could easily see the clinic from the road the question often was how to get to it.

Another large factor prompting the move was simply space. As the Twin Ports has grown, especially Hermantown, the current clinic has too grown, or rather, outgrown their current space. It was the perfect time to move as the current lease of St. Luke's space is up in September 2016.

St. Luke's expects to present the project for building permits sometime in March or April with construction beginning soon after depending on the weather. The project is expected to be completed by early fall.

 

Taco Bell plans Grand Avenue location

UPDATE: The developer has withdrawn plans from the City of Duluth's Planning Commission for the Taco Bell location planned for Grand Avenue. It is unclear at the moment if the project will move forward at a later date, however Taco Bell is still actively looking for a suitable site for a West Duluth location.


Lovers of Taco Bell we have good news. 

Next year you will have another location to satisfy those intense cravings at any hour of the day. Marvin Development IV, LLC will submit plans at the January 12th Duluth Planning Commission meeting for a new Taco Bell to be constructed on Grand Avenue in West Duluth.

The new freestanding building would be constructed on two plots, 4216 Grand Avenue which currently has a single family home and 4218 Grand Avenue which currently is home to a commercial building. It would be located directly next to Essentia Health's West Duluth Clinic and across from Kwik Trip.

The new 2,170 square foot building will have a dining area with 40 seats and will feature the newest prototype design. The site will also feature a drive thru along with 24 parking spaces. This will be Taco Bell's second Duluth location. The Central Entrance location at the Stone Ridge Shopping Center has been open for nearly 20 years and was renovated last year. 

If the project is approved by the Duluth Planning Commission construction would likely begin this Spring with a completion in late Summer.

 

Kwik Trip plans third West Duluth location

Just as construction is wrapping up on 2015's newest Kwik Trip store locations within the Twin Ports area news begins to break on the next round of locations. Plans have been unveiled for a third West Duluth Kwik Trip location bringing the number in Duluth up to 5 and the number in the Twin Ports up to 15 (if our math is correct).

The new location is planned for the Spirit Valley Shopping Center near the intersection of Bristol Street and Central Avenue. Currently the site is a parking lot located directly behind the Little Store and Kosta's Gyros building.

Kwik Trip plans to construct a free standing location and what appears to be a 13 pump fueling station. The location would follow the same design and set-up as the other area locations that have recently be built.

Proposed Kwik Trip location  |  Duluth Planning Commission

AREA EXPANSION

Kwik Trip wasn't joking when they said they expected to have around 15 locations by the year 2015 when they made their Twin Ports debut a few years ago.

The company recently opened a store in Superior on Second Street and will soon open another Superior location on Hammond Avenue. Those two locations will add to their Tower Avenue, Second Street, and Banks Avenue locations bringing the count to five in Superior.

In Duluth Kwik Trip currently has a location on Michigan Avenue and Grand Ave with a location under construction further down on Grand Ave past Interstate 35 and another location under construction on the corner of Arlington Avenue and Central Entrance. Those locations all together bring the city count to four locations with this new location on Bristol St being the fifth.

Kwik Trip located at Highway 53 and Sugar Maple Drive in Hermantown  |  CDINDULUTH

In Hermantown there currently is a location at the intersection of Highway 53 and Sugar Maple Drive with another location opening soon near the intersection of Highway 53 and Arrowhead Road (in front of Menards).

In Cloquet the company currently has two locations with one on North Road and the other near Interstate 35 on Highway 45.

Last month Kwik Trip announced that they will be constructing a new Two Harbors location on old Sonju parcel on Seventh Avenue. In addition to Two Harbors Kwik Trip currently is also constructing a location in Moose Lake in a business park near Interstate 35.

If you're following us, that means there are 15 open, under construction, or planned locations within the Twin Ports area... right where the company said they would be.

NOT AT THE FINISH LINE YET

Even with 15 locations... Kwik Trip isn't done.

Rumors are still swirling about a potential East Duluth location near the hospitals, possibly on London Road. Then there are also sources saying that an additional location could be planned near the entry to Highway 61 which is the ExpressWay to Two Harbors.

And then there's the Iron Range...

The second Hermantown Kwik Trip location under construction earlier this month  |  CDINDULUTH

It's likely that we will see Kwik Trip's numbers overall end up in the mid to upper 20's by the time that their Northland expansion is complete which likely won't occur for a few more years. Regardless, there are no doubts within our mind that wherever you are in the Northland now (or in the near future) there's bound to be a Kwik Trip near by.

For more information on Kwik Trip's Twin Ports expansion plan, search our website here and use the keywords "Kwik Trip" to bring up any articles or other information CDINDULUTH holds regarding the topic.

As always, we'll be sure to post more information about the construction status of the other Kwik Trips in the area, along with their opening dates and further company plans right here at CDINDULUTH!