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.

S1.jpeg

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.

 

TOPPER'S PIZZA PLANNING TWIN PORT'S LOCATIONS

ct-toppers-pizza-closed-0308-biz-20170307.jpg

Topperstix. If you haven't had them, you've GOT to try them. And good news Duluthians, soon you'll have the chance to.

Topper's is a pizza chain known for their delicious ToppersStixs. They're basically breadsticks... but so much better. They come in SEVEN different types, including garlicstix, pepperonistix, tacostix, cinnamonstix, baconstix, chocolate baconstix... along with the regular Toppstix which is simply a cheese topping.

Hold up though, that isn't all that they have though.

The joint also serves bone-in and boneless chicken wings and of course, PIZZA. The pizza options are endless ranging from build-your-own all the way down to Mac N' Cheese pizza. What sets Topper's pizza apart from others are their wild choices, their fresh ingredients, their late hours, and the fact that they typically deliver within 25 minutes. Talk about fast.

Based out of Whitewater, WI, Topper's currently has 15 Minnesota locations making Duluth their 16th. The first Minnesota Topper's location opened in 2012 in Rochester, not far from the Mayo Clinic.

SO WHO'S BRINGING TOPPERS TO THE TWIN PORTS?

A local real estate developer, Jordan Decaro, along with John Matko, who previously was a chef at Essentia Health's Heartstone Cafe and the Northland Country Club, will be the ones behind the new Topper's locations.

The first of which will be in East Duluth.

Located at 1231. E 9th Street, the space previously was home to David Kortier Harpmaker, a business that had been located at the site for nearly 20 years. The harpmaker won't be going far, space at the back of the building currently is housing their business and will be for the foreseeable future.

Topper's will open in the front half of the ground floor of the building. The space will house the kitchen, ordering area, and a few seats areas for guests. In addition, there will be a bit of outdoor seating too that can be used during the early Spring and Summer months.

EXPANSION WITHIN THE TWIN PORTS

The East Duluth location won't be the only one for long as Jordan and John plan to open two additional locations within the Twin Ports later this year. The first of which, or second depending on how you look at it, will open in Superior later this Summer while a third will open in West Duluth or Lincoln Park later this fall.

The East Duluth location is expected to open later this Spring when they can gaurentee that most of the college students will be within the area. Topper's feeds off of college campus', especially during their openings. The first 50 individuals in line will receive free pizza for an ENTIRE year.

We'll be sure to keep you updated on when Topper's plans to exactly open because let's be honest, who doesn't want free pizza for a year?

 

COULD A SECOND TARGET BE IN DULUTH'S FUTURE?

Could Target’s newest small format store design be coming to Duluth? New renderings of BlueStone Commons may provide a hint.

Yesterday we posted an article about plans submitted to the city by the developers of BlueStone Commons. Unfortunately at this time those renderings provide few details for the project besides the fact that it would be much larger than expected. Depicted are an 11 story residential building along with a large freestanding retail building adjacent to it

While developers last year stated that they would like to attract a grocery tenant along the lines of Trader Joe’s or Aldi to the site it appears that while that large retail space would be perfectly suitable for them that it could in fact be a home to another retailer. Target.

You might be a frequent Target shopper like us and therefore might be saying to yourself how would a Target fit in such a small space. The answer? Target’s new small format store design.

In 2014 “Target Express” debuted in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood with the 20,000 square foot store being about a sixth of the size of a typical Target location. While the "express" part of the name has been dropped from the concept as the expansion of the store design continues the basic business model remains. Small stores ranging between 16,000 and 30,000 square feet that can fit in to densely populated areas.

Flash forward to today and there are over 20 of these small format stores either open or in the works across the country.

Target's Dinkytown location | Target

SOMETIMES SMALLER IS BETTER THAN BIGGER

Rendering showing the retail space planned for BlueStone Commons | Planning Commission

The new small format stores offer the “best” of what Target has to offer. What that means is that instead of finding 15 types of toilet paper, you might only find 8. Same goes for all of the departments within the stores. You also may not find ALL of the departments that you would find in a typical Target location as the stores are built for the demographics found in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In Minnesota there currently are two of these small format locations open, one located in Minneapolis' Dinkytown neighborhood while the other is in St. Paul’s Highland neighborhood.

While the Dinkytown location is geared towards college students, the Highland location is geared towards the surrounding neighborhood of families and adults and includes Target’s upper-end Threshold brand along with a focus on wellness and family products. A third small format location will open next year in a new mixed-use development in the heart of Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood called “Revel”.

Duluth’s BlueStone Commons would be a perfect fit for a new small format Target as it is close to both colleges and dense neighborhoods, a demographic that this small format model was originally built for. While Target recently closed their location in Superior there has always been sources stating that Target was looking to open a second Duluth location, ideally in East Duluth. As noted by one of our readers the renderings provided by BlueStone Common’s developers show the retail space including a bright red canopy along with the signature red Target spheres in front of the store. Could it be the first hint?

While renderings don’t always depict what will in the end become reality, they do provide a good insight in to what tenant’s developers are looking to attract to a site or those tenants in which they may already be in negotiations with. To bring even more truth to a potential Target at BlueStone, recently various sources have reported that Target has been seeking construction bids within the Twin Ports. Could this be for a new location at BlueStone Commons or could it be for improvements to their location near the Miller Hill Mall? Time will tell.

As more details become available on BlueStone Commons and their exciting final phase, whether that includes a Target or not, you’ll be sure to find them right here at CDINDULUTH.

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.

 

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!

 
 

ALDI CONFIRMS DULUTH LOCATION

Aldi will be setting up shop in Duluth. Finally.

Aldi officials confirmed last week that the company is in the final negotiations to build a free standing 19,000 square foot location in the Village Mall in Duluth Heights on a site that currently is surface parking for the mall.

If you're unfamiliar with Aldi, read our post here to learn just about everything you could want to know about the German based grocer that does things a little differently than similar businesses within the United States.

Current parking lot where the new Aldi location will be construction | CDINDULUTH

The new location in Duluth will be similar in design to the company's location that opened on Tower Avenue in Superior last fall. 1 story in design, the Duluth location will be around 19,000 square feet with 12,000 square feet of selling space, making it slightly larger than the Superior location.

Aldi would like to begin construction this fall with an opening planned for Summer 2017. While the company can confirm no additional stores are planned for Superior, they say a second Duluth location could be in store (literally) for the future.

This news comes on the heels of the announcement that PetSmart will open a 25,000 square foot location in the last remaining space at the Village Mall. The center will also receive facade upgrades to make all storefronts match along with an entirely new parking lot. You can read more about this announcement here.


 

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!

 



Dunkin' Donuts opens second Twin Ports location

Title.jpg

It's 5:45am. What does that mean? The doors to Dunkin' Donuts SECOND Twin Ports location are about open for the first time... in 15 minutes. It also means that you better jump in your car and head there right now.

The new store located at 3110 Tower Avenue replaces a former Mr. Movie's location. The building has been under construction since early summer. The construction itself included major interior and exterior renovations in order to bring it up to the Dunkin' Donuts design standards.

The new location looks very similar (if not identical) to the location that opened this past June in Duluth on Central Entrance. That location opened to long-lines and exceptional sales as Twin Ports (and Northland) residents turned out in mass numbers. Today it's clear that Dunkin' Donuts is a hit a hit with the Northland.

Superior's location employs 50 and will be open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It features a drive-thru window along with indoor seating and of course a full menu filled with delicious coffee and those famous donuts. 

Brian Weidendorf is the CEO of Donco, LLC, the company who runs both the Twin Ports Dunkin' Donuts locations. Based out of Hinkley, MN the company has plans for five more Dunkin' Donuts locations in Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin over the next two to three years (we'll wait until next week to start speculating on where's next).

GRAND OPENING

You love donuts and coffee. You love free things. And of course you love supporting a good cause. Well then, you'll love what Dunkin' Donuts has in store (literally) later this month.

Dunkin' Donuts will host a grand opening on October 29th at their Superior location. The event will support the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northland. Representatives will be distributing FREE Dunkin' Donuts travel mugs along with free medium coupons to all who donate. We're sure there will be some donuts in there too.

Dunkin' Donuts will also present a $1,000 donation to the charity.

 


Shops at BlueStone secures new tenants, plans for the future

The Duluth News Tribune recently reported on the continued development of Mark Lambert's BlueStone Commons off Woodland Avenue and Clover Street. New details also emerged regarding the Shops at BlueStone.

Pizza Hut | Wing Street will open their doors September 15th (for more openings check our calendar here) in what will be the third phase of the Shops at BlueStone project. The building also will be home to two more retail tenants.

An unnamed dentist will open an office next to Pizza Hut while AT&T Wireless will open their fifth (third in Duluth) Twin Ports location. Both are scheduled to open this fall. With these two additional tenants the building will be 100% leased along with the rest of the Shops at BlueStone buildings. So, on to the next phase we go!

WISHLIST: GROCERY STORE

Developer Mark Lambert told the Duluth News Tribune that he hopes to attract an organic grocery store of some type to the final phase of the BlueStone Commons development called BlueStone Vue. This is where things get interesting.

Originally BlueStone Vue was to become the third and final housing phase of the BlueStone development. It was to include about 14,500 square feet of retail space on the first floor along with residential units on the upper floors. Now plans seem to have shifted to making retail the priority within the building. Lambert mentions that he is looking to attract a "popular upscale market chain not currently in the Northland." He also notes that he is looking for this marketplace to fill 20,000 to 30,000 square feet of space.

WE'VE BEEN THINKING

So, naturally we here at CDINDULUTH have been thinking. What could possibly be a potential candidate for this space? There's two companies that come to our mind right away. The first would most likely be a prayer come true for many Duluthians and that is Trader Joe's.

With Aldi entering the Twin Ports market in November with the opening of their Superior location it marks a milestone for their parent company. As we've mentioned before, Aldi and Trader Joe's are actually part of the same company. Aldi has plans to continue expanding in the Northland and is currently scouting for a location within Duluth.

Now, Aldi could be a fit for the Shops at BlueStone however it doesn't fit the category of being an upscale organic marketplace, plus it wouldn't be new to the Northland. Trader Joe's however fits the description perfectly with one exception.

Interior of a typical Trader Joe's store (Leopardo Construction)

Trader Joe's locations tend to rarely be over 12,000 square feet in size. However this could match up perfectly with Lambert's comments regarding the size of the marketplace and how it could ultimately determine if other retailers could also located within Vue and how much housing could be included within the development.

There's one more player that comes to mind and that particular grocer could be an even more perfect fit for the development.

LET'S THINK BIGGER. LET'S THINK MORE SPECIALIZED. 

There's another organic marketplace that is sweeping the country by storm and that is Whole Foods Market. Don't confuse it with the local organic grocer Whole Foods CO-OP as this is completely different company.

Whole Foods Market currently has five Minnesota locations all of which are in the Twin Cities. They're currently constructing a new replacement for their St. Paul store that will make it the second largest in the state after the Downtown Minneapolis location on Hennepin Avenue.

If you haven't heard of Whole Foods Market we can almost guarantee you that you have seen a chef shopping at one on the Food Network. They're huge in presence on the West and East Coasts and up until about three years ago they had a relatively small presence within Minnesota.

Interior of a Whole Foods Market in Del Mar, California. (DLE Design)

The reason that we are bringing up Whole Foods Market as a potential player for the final phase of the Shops at Bluestone and the BlueStone development all together is that they are basically the perfect contender.

Whole Foods Market is an upscale organic marketplace. Their older stores tend to range as small as the 17,000 square feet mark but more recently are averaging between 35,000 and 45,000 square feet. This would match up more so with the developer Mark Lambert's wishes for a marketplace between 20,000 and 30,000 square feet. Also, we should mention that East Duluth's demographics are essentially a perfect fit and dream come true for Whole Foods Market.

IT'S ALL SPECULATION AT THIS POINT.

Let's just make it clear, we're not here to start rumors but rather we are here to lay the facts on the table. It is all speculation at this point, got it? Has Trader Joe's been looking to expand their Minnesota presence including within Duluth? Yes.

Has Whole Foods Market also been looking to expand their Minnesota presence, even venturing North? Yes. In fact last year they opened their most northern location in Minnesota in Maple Grove's Shoppes at Arbor Lakes (about 35 minutes from Downtown Minneapolis).

At the moment is clear that both retailers could be perfect contenders for the final phase of BlueStone Commons. But, we're also thinking that if Lambert's dreams come true Whole Foods Market might be the forerunner in the race. 

As always, we will keep you up to date right here at CDINDULUTH with all the latest in news regarding this exciting project and the countless others within the Twin Ports!

 


We're back.


Ladies and Gentlemen, we are back and ever so happy to be.

Exciting things are happening at CDINDULUTH and our sister website The Development Tracker | Minneapolis. We'll have updates regarding both our websites for you soon.

But first, let's recap on the developments within Duluth over the past month and a half.


It was announced that Jimmy John's will open their third Duluth location this Fall at the Miller Hill Mall. Construction began on a renovation of the space earlier this month.

The new 1,800 square foot location will be within the "streetscape" portion of the mall in part of the space that formerly housed Coldwater Creek (which closed this past year due to a company wide bankruptcy). The other portion of the space was filled this past Spring when Men's Warehouse relocated their Burning Tree Plaza store to the mall.

Jimmy John's first Twin Ports location opened in Superior nearly a decade ago. The company added another location at the Plaza Shopping Center in East Duluth a few years later. That location relocated across the street last year in order to make way for a new CVS Pharmacy. Last year a third area location opened at the Shops at BlueStone on Woodland Avenue.


Logo.jpg

Love the perfect grilled cheese? You may want to grab a tissue for this one.

A local favorite will be expanding with a new Downtown location come fall. Toasty's currently has a location at 1032 East Ninth Street that has been open for about a year. Needless to say the location has done extremely well, so well that the owners are already planning another one.

The new location will be located at 220 W. Superior St. The space has previously been home to a number of restaurants most recently Farley's Grill. The new larger space will allow the restaurant to expand their menu past grilled cheeses to include other items such as pasta salads and foods that are prepared to go.


 
 

Ikonics Corporation recently broke ground on their new 27,300 square foot expansion to their current 37,000 square foot manufacturing space in the Duluth Atlas Industrial Park off Commonwealth Avenue. The entire expansion will cost around $4.3 million dollars. 

The new space will allow for the installation of five new robots used to create different aerospace products and will result in the creation of an additional 30-40 jobs for the facility and is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2016.


 
 

Rue21 opened their new store at the Miller Hill Mall on July 23rd. It is the second store in Northern Minnesota for the company (there is another location in Bemidji). The Duluth location features clothing and accessories for both teen girls and guys. Currently there are 20 other locations within the state of Minnesota.


 
 

A coffee shop and eatery that is unlike any other in the area recently opened in Hermantown. Pelican Coffee opened at the beginning of August at the corner of Miller Trunk Highway and Lavaque Road. The space formerly housed a Republic Bank branch.

What is unique about the shop is that 50% of the profits will be donated to the community of Hermantown and the regions and areas in which the coffee beans that the business uses are harvested from.

Matt and Gina Pfingsten are behind the operation. The business will partner with a local organization called Praying Pelican Missions that Matt founded in 2003. His organization develops church and communication partnerships around the world.


New retail center planned for Central Entrance

There's an interest in a block of Central Entrance after a recent closing occurred and news of a developer purchasing the site. 

News broke recently that the BP gas station at the corner of Central Entrance and Arlington Avenue would be closing and along with it the Sammy's Pizza located inside. Don't confuse this location with the other BP station kiddy corner on the side of McDonald's, that one is still open for business.

It seems that almost as quick as the news of the closing was announced that the closing itself occurred. If you drive by the site today you'll notice that there are no signs of a BP once existing at this site and in fact the gas tanks have even been removed along with the canopy. With such rapid closure and removal it poses the question of what is next for the site and why the hurry?

The purchaser of the site is local developer Joe Kleiman along with his company Kleiman Realty. They also own the neighboring Pizza Hut building, the UPS Store, AND the Lake Superior Laundromat building. Are you sensing a redevelopment might occur? If so, you're correct.

Kleiman Reality is in the planning stages for a new retail strip center that would be constructed on the sites in which they own. All four of the current buildings would be razed. At the moment the exact details regarding the size and the design of the retail center have yet to be announced. 

Two of the three local businesses that will have their buildings demolished in order to make way for the new project will relocate in the new strip center. UPS will open a new store along with Pizza Hut. But ladies and gentlemen, this won't be your typical Pizza Hut location.

GET READY TO SEE A NEW SIDE OF PIZZA HUT

Last month Pizza Hut opened a new store concept in St. Cloud Minnesota. The new restaurant design features an updated look along with a full bar. We're excited to say that this new concept will also be making its way up to Duluth.

Muy Pizza Minnesota is the company responsible for bringing the new sports themed concept to Minnesota. They're no strangers to Pizza Hut as the company owns and runs hundreds of locations across the country among other restaurant brands. The new sports bar concept debuted originally in Texas with a goal of retaining the idea of Pizza Hut being a sit down restaurant. Let's be honest, delivery sometimes is just too good to be true. 

MSPBJ \ Clare Kennedy 

The new sports bar concept has a full bar that serves wine, beer, and cocktails. Overall these restaurants tend to be a bit larger than a typical Pizza Hut location and the atmosphere is a little more modern and edgy. For instance, Minneapolis' new location features 13 flat screen televisions along with modern wall graphics and neon lighting. And don't worry, the sports bar locations still feature a buffet.

While most of these new styles of Pizza Hut are located in the Southern portion of the U.S. the company did open a location in St. Cloud in May and also a location last week in downtown Minneapolis. 

Muy Pizza has further plans for Duluth. The San Antonio based company will also be the ones behind a few new Pizza Hut locations opening in Twin Ports (we'll have more information soon) over the next few months. Muy Pizza also plans to open another Pizza Hut sports bar concept in Grand Rapids this coming year.

At the moment it is unclear on the exact time frame of when the new Pizza Hut will open on Central Entrance however it is most likely to happen in Spring 2016. Check back to CDINDULUTH in the coming months for more information on this new retail center and the new businesses that will fill it!

 

 

Northern Waters Smokehaus to open second Duluth location

A local favorite is coming to the Mount Royal Shopping Center as Northern Waters Smokehaus officially announced today their second Duluth location.  The new location in the former Bixby's space at 1608 Woodland Avenue will open this September.

We'll have more information for you soon on the project. Until then, start thinking about all that delicious smoked salmon you'll be able to get. Is it lunch again yet?

Second Duluth Chipotle location on the way... hopefully.

Duluth's second Chipotle location could be be open by early next year if all our burrito dreams come true.

It was never really a question of "if" Chipotle would open a second location in Duluth, rather it was more so "when". Even before the company opened their first Northland location last year at the Miller Hill Mall it was clear that Duluthians loved themselves some Chipotle. But let's be honest, who doesn't?

Chipotle will officially celebrate a year of being open in late June and even before that year is complete sources are saying that the company already has plans for an additional location in Duluth. Or do they?

Fox 21 recently spoke on the planned opening while reporting on a job fair that Chipotle recently hosted. That job fair invited interested candidates to come to any of the company's midwest locations to interview, which includes the over 50 locations in Minnesota alone.

Our minds ablaze with the thought of another Chipotle location in mind we quickly got in touch with Chipotle's Headquarters. We emailed our "friend in the burrito biz" as she calls herself, Tara, who replied with a quick response. "I did some checking, and I don't see anywhere that we're planning on opening up a new restaurant in Duluth or Superior" she told us.

WAIT. WHAT?

That's right, you did in fact read correctly, she said that there are no plans for a new location in Duluth. So how could that be if it was already announced that there was in fact a location set to open in 2016? 

Here's the thing, there's one thing we have learned about Chipotle over time and it's the following.

Chipotle loves the "hush hush" style of communication when it comes to their new locations, which we don't blame them. It seems that they really won't identify that a location is in fact opening until the sign is hanging above the door.

We saw this with the first Duluth location that we reported was coming over a year in advance yet the company would not confirm the opening until about six months later.

It makes sense though. It's better to be safe then sorry as sometimes there can be hiccups when it comes to leases or there can be major construction set backs. We also experienced this with the location at the Miller Hill Mall as it's opening was pushed back multiple times due to a delay in kitchen equipment arriving.

Above: Chipotle's only Duluth location at the Miller Hill Mall.

WHERE OH WHERE COULD CHIPOTLE GO?

We're still confident that Duluth has another Chipotle in the works, to be honest we think there might be a few additional Chipotle locations in the works (Yes, Superior your day will come soon). As always with things here at CDINDULUTH we try our best to find out every little detail we can as quick as we can.

We're not saying anything is set in stone regarding the exact location of the new Chipotle but we are placing our bets on East Duluth, specifically the area near the colleges. Let's be honest, College students love their burritos and they really love their Chipotle.

Likely developments that Chipotle could call home would be the Shops at Bluestone in their next retail phase that would be potentially be ready late next year. There's also the recently announced Kenwood Village development developed by United Properties which would be ready for occupancy by next summer. 

BUT WAIT, WHAT ABOUT DOWNTOWN?

Ahh yes burrito lovers you are correct there is another area that Chipotle would be perfectly suited for and that's Downtown Duluth. There's quite a number of suitable spaces that Chipotle could locate in but we think that if they were to head Downtown it would be a location on Superior Street for sure. 

There's also the new Maurice's headquarters and the 20,000 square feet of commercial space that is available on the first floor. It seems pretty logical that Chipotle might want to open a location on the first floor of a building that has 600 workers located directly above. Completion on the Maurice's headquarters will be by the first quarter of 2016.

THE MORSAL, WE MEAN MORAL, OF THE STORY

We do have sources confirming that an additional Chipotle location will in fact open in 2016 as Fox 21 mentioned and regardless of what company officials are able to say at the moment. 

We'll keep you updated regarding all the news that we here at CDINDULUTH are able to uncover about the Twin Ports second Chipotle location. 

In the mean time we think it's quite logical to head to Chipotle to celebrate this news from the burrito gods. They're open until 10pm today at 1600 Miller Trunk Highway in Duluth so really there's no excuse.

Alakef plans first retail location

A local coffee company is planning their first retail store location marking a major foot step in the growth of the company and their brand presence.

Alakef Coffee Roasters will open a new kiosk called the "Alakef Cup" inside the Super One Foods location at the Kenwood Shopping Center in Duluth come this summer. The location will fill 420 square feet of space that formerly was a children's play area. The space will feature a few tables and chairs but will be largely built for the customer "on the go".

A variety of their Alakef Coffees, which are made with their fair trade and organic beans that are roasted right here in Duluth, will be offered at the kiosk. The space will also feature foods by some of the areas best local restaurants such as Duluth Grill and Amazing Grace. Of course there will also be other coffeehouse favorites such as lattes, mochas, and smoothies. 

Above: Progress on the new Alakef Coffee Roasters kiosk space at Super One Foods in the Kenwood Shopping Center

The Duluth News Tribune wrote on the matter today along with a controversy surrounding the new kiosk as neighboring Perk Place Coffeehouse is said to have exclusive coffeehouse rights to the shopping center. We'd like to focus our efforts shedding some light on the success of another local family run business that is thriving. There's one thing that's for sure in this world and that is that people absolutely love coffee so in our eyes the more the better.

Alakef Coffee Roasters began in the early 1980s and was born out of "a passion for coffee and [the] search for the "perfect cup" of coffee according to their website. Daughter Alyza Bohbot (pronounced like "rowboat" but with a B) took over the family business in January. Her parents Nessim and Deborah ran Alakef for the 25 years prior laying the foundation for what has become an extremely successful business.

"Retail has actually been something that we as a company have been thinking about for years" owner Alyza Bohbot stated. Bohbot's background is in retail management and breaking into the retail world was a direction in which she had been wanting to take the company in for quite some time.

Alakef's success is attributed to their care for the coffee beans in which they roast . The company makes sure that before any coffee is actually purchased that it has been sampled by everyone on their staff. 

Above: Alakef Coffee Roasters headquarters and roasting facility on Superior Street in Duluth.

Focusing on the purchasing of "quality organic, shade-grown and certified Rainforest Alliance or Fair Trade" coffees Alakef has found great success within the coffee market. The company services other businesses at wholesale cost meaning their coffee is served at numerous coffeehouses within the Midwest along with being sold at a number of shops and retail locations like local grocers Cub Foods and Super One Foods.

Alakef has stated that if the kiosk store does well (which we whole heartedly believe it will) that the company would be interested in opening additional retail outlets with one possibility being at their corporate headquarters and coffee roasting facility on Superior Street in Duluth.

We here at CDINDULUTH absolutely love Alakef's coffee and couldn't be more excited for them as they open their first retail location. It's great to see that another local Duluth business is successful and thriving, something that we truly believe Duluthians can be proud of.

 

Construction end nears for Sugar Maple Crossings development

What began as a single retail building at the intersection of Sugar Maple Drive and Highway 53 in Hermantown has developed into a bustling commercial campus.

Sugar Maple Crossing is about to wrap up construction on their final phase of the project with tenants beginning to move in by early May.The project has been constructed over a few years time and is located at the entry to the residential development Maple Village which features 44 residential lots, many of which have already been developed. 

Above: Exterior work is wrapping up on the most recent addition of Sugar Maple Crossings

NEW CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY

If you've driven past the site recently you may have noticed an additional building, rather an expansion, being constructed towards the back of the site. A large portion of that space is already leased to Eventis, a telecommunications provider that currently has an office in Downtown Duluth. 

One retail space featuring 3,000 square feet of space is still available and can be subdivided into two smaller spaces depending on the need. The retail space does have the ability to have a drive through depending on the tenants needs which the developers hope may attract a coffee shop or another dining establishment.

Last month a second retail building was completed that is now fully leased with a Burger King and Domino's location, both of which have been doing exceptionally well

Above: The remaining 3,000 square feet of space has yet to be leased

Above: The second of the project was completed last month

THE CLOSING PHASE

This final expansion will mark the completion of the Sugar Maple Crossing development. The area has changed significantly over the past few years beginning as a largely wooded and somewhat desolate area, to now being a bustling commercially active corridor.

Platinum Properties will be remodeling the exterior of the first phase of Sugar Maple Crossing, adding new crown molding, and changing paint colors, so that all phases of the project flow together and each phase is not distinguishable.

Above: Work is underway on renovating parts of the first phase of the development in order to remain cohesive in the overall design.

Sugar Maple Crossings includes the area's first Dickey's Barbecue location along with Fastenal, Crossfit, Country Financial, and as mentioned above Burger King and Domino's.

Last year the development received a new neighbor as Kwik Trip opened their first Hermantown location next door to the site.

If you are interested in leasing any of the remaining retail space please feel free to contact us here and we can get your in contact with the developers.

NOW OPEN: Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's opened the doors to their newest, and also their third, Duluth location a few weeks ago at the Shops at BlueStone on Woodland Avenue.

The new location features the most current Jimmy John's prototype which had yet to debut within the Twin Ports market. Customers will notice a heavy use of graphics within the store whether it be on the walls or the tables. In fact those tables are fully branded with all the quirky sayings that Jimmy John's is known for.

While the new location is on the smaller side regarding size it doesn't feel that with way due to the immense ceiling height. There's also good reason for the smaller size as the Shops at BlueStone location has something the others don't; a drive thru. That's ride, no need to get out of the vehicle now in order to get your favorite sub and of course you still have the ability to tap into their freaky fast delivery.

Jimmy John's continues to be on the look out for additional Twin Ports locations including a location near the Miller Hill Mall. 

We've included some pictures below of the new Jimmy John's location.

Planned Rue 21 store grows in size

Rue21 will still be opening a new store at the Miller Hill Mall however the exact plans have changed a little since we last reported back in December about the planned opening at the Miller Hill Mall. At that time the Rue 21 location was to be constructed in the former spaces of a dollar store and Radio Shack. Well, plans change and let us tell you first and formost Duluthians you're going to benefit from it.

Rue 21 will no longer be locating in the spaces mentioned above as Radio Shack will in fact NOT be closing their Duluth location after last minute corporate decisions saved the location at the Miller Hill Mall from the chopping block. That means Rue 21 needed to find a new place to set up shop within the mall but the search didn't take long as Deb Shops recently close their Duluth location after the company went bankrupt leaving a prime space for Rue21 to call home.

Above: Location of the new Rue21 location at the Miller Hill Mall.

The original space Rue21 was to open in was just over 6,000 square feet with about 5,000 of that being devoted to sales space. The new space in which Rue21 will open will be roughly 7,100 square feet and include 6,400 square feet of sales space. If you're keeping track that's a 1,400 square foot increase in selling space equating to roughly the size of a Hot Topic location. So yes, it will in fact make a difference.

Rue21's new locaiton will take over an existing storage space to the left of Deb which for the last few years has been used as mall storage and at one time as a space for a ProActive kiosk. The mall will however receive a portion of space towards the back of the vacated Deb space that will be used most likely for mall storage.

Above: Floor plan for the new Rue21 store location at the Miller Hill Mall.

The Duluth location will still feature girls and guys clothing along with accessories. The store format will be a little easier to navigate though due to the additional square footage and more of the space will be able to be used due to the straight storefront instead of the zig-zag one that would have been present in the former design.

The store interior will be split into mainly two areas with guys on the left side and girls on the right side. Gentlemen we're sorry to inform you that you'll get about a third of the sales space that the ladies will get. But hey, it's the thought that counts right?

Above: Interior graphics for the various fitting room designs

The interior overall design will feature an industrial design vibe. Ceilings will be left exposed with industrial styled pendant lights along with track lighting. Walls will be covered with various wallpaper designs featuring young individuals at concerts, patterned designs, and an abandoned loft. Each fitting room has a themed design including the following; "Club 21", "Skater", "Runway Model", "Rock Star" and "Princess". Walls will feature mostly a dark color scheme with pops of green, yellow, teal, and pink added. 

Work will begin on the space in May with an opening likely by the end of summer just in time for back to school shopping. That's right kids, before school has even ended we're already thinking about when you head back. We apologize for reminding you if you're reading but still want to remind your parents that summer only last three months. You. Can. Do it.  

Above: Rue21 store front design