HERE'S WHAT THE FUTURE OF THE "CAN OF WORMS" WILL LOOK LIKE

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We all know what the “can of worms” is, right? 

If not, it’s the area where I-35, I-535 and Highway 53 all come together near the shores of the St. Louis Bay. You can also just think of the area in Duluth near the water where multiple freeways intertwine in about every direction possible.  

Yes, that area.

We thought we would let you know that work will begin next year on completely dismantling and rebuilding the interchange we know today. Heavy construction work is expected to last for two years while the entire project will be officially complete in 2023.  

Plans for the $342 million Twin Ports Interchange (TPI) project include essentially completely rebuilding EVERYTHING. Yes, everything.

Here are the main focuses of the project:

  • Providing a new conventional design

  • Relocating all exits and entrances to the right side of the roadway

  • Improving merging sight distance and eliminating merge conflicts

  • Eliminating weaving problems near the interchange

  • Providing lane continuity for through I-35 traffic

We think one of the major wins with this project will be the bullet that states that “all exits and entrances (will be located) to the right side of the roadway.” That’s good news for motorists who use those exits and entrances because at the moment they can be quite tricky (and dangerous) to maneuver.

Another win for the project is that it will also straighten out I-35 as it continues heading southwest, pass the I-535 and I-53 connections. If you think of the area today, it’s the part of I-35 that winds to the left and dips down as exits appear on both the left and right sides. 

THE DESIGN

When it comes to the aesthetic of the TPI project you won’t just see another bland concrete interchange constructed.

The walls and bridges of the TPI will feature two intersecting patterns, one representing the local stone found within the Lincoln Park area and the other representing the taconite pellets that travel through Duluth’s harbors.

These two patterns will intersect and have a break line that represents Miller Creek as it weaves its way through the Lincoln Park neighborhood from the top of the hill down to the bay.

Separating the large plates of these two intersecting patterns will be vertical stacked stone columns that represent the “skilled tradesmen and woman who helped build this part of Duluth, both past and present.”

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You won’t see a lot of the aesthetic work begin for another year or two (for a complete timeframe of the project visit MNDOT’s project website here), however you might have already seen a bit of construction work going on on some of the area’s surrounding the existing interchange.

Work on $1.88 million of improvements is currently being completed on 46th Avenue W, 27th Avenue W, and Railroad Street. The work will include concrete pavement repair and pavement rehabilitation. In addition, new rail crossings will be installed by the BNSF in four locations while one will be removed. 

ANIMATION

Lastly, if you’re interested in seeing the Twin Ports Interchange project in its entirety, check out the fly through of the Twin Ports Interchange courtesy of MNDOT below.

To learn more about this exciting project and to get details on road closures and updates throughout the project’s construction, visit’s MNDOT’s Twin Port’s Interchange project website here.

 

SUPER ONE LIQUOR PLANNING NEW CENTRAL AVENUE STORE

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Super One Liquor is planning an entirely new store after nearly 10 years of business along Central Avenue.

The company has purchased a small commercial building located at 202 N Central Avenue that sits directly behind their current Super One Liquor store. Plans are to raze that building in order to construct a new, much larger Super One Liquor.

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The new building will make quite the impact on the corner.

Not only will it be larger in square footage, but it will also be much taller than current building on site. Designed by Duluth-based DSGW, the new liquor store will feature Super One Liquor’s most recent store design which includes expansive ceilings, celestial windows, and almost 50 different cooler doors. 

Super One Liquor’s current store, which was purchased in 2010 and at the time was a liquor store called Liberty Liquors, will be demolished to make way for a new parking lot.

When the Central Avenue store opened it was the second liquor store in the Super One Foods chain, the first having opened just a few years prior in Cloquet. Today, there are 10 Super One Liquor stores spread across Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Plans for the new Super One Liquor will go before the Duluth Planning Commission next Tuesday, August 13th.

 

RESTAURANT AND BAR PLANNED FOR FORMER LINCOLN PARK CHURCH

A Church in Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood will soon be transformed into a… restaurant and bar. 

Bethany Lutheran Church is located at 2308 W. 3rd Street. The church was built in 1903 and originally was a Swedish-speaking church. Bob Bagley has purchased the church (which is no longer be used) and has plans to transform its unique spaces into a restaurant and bar called Church Restaurant Duluth.

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The main floor of the building will house the restaurant and bar which will have seating for 128 people. Bagley intends to reuse some of the existing architectural elements within the new restaurant such as the pews which will be used for table booths and a bar top. 

One unique aspect of the transformation of the Bethany Lutheran Church building is that the building will also house a large indoor garden on the basement level of the building. Bagley intends to use the harvest from the garden to create dishes for the restaurant along with the possibility of selling some of the excess goods to neighbors.

While some may look at the transformation of a religious space into a restaurant and bar as odd Bagley is excited about the transformation. He feels that with the transformation the space will return to its roots and become a gathering space for the community, like it was for the previous 120 years when it functioned as a church. 

Church Restaurant will located just blocks from the thriving Lincoln Park Craft District. A straight shot down the road will bring you to Duluth Cider, make a right and you’ll arrive at Ursa Minor Brewing and Wild State Cider, make a left and you’ll be brought to OMC Smokehouse, Corktown Deli, Love Creamery, Taco Arcada, Bent Paddle Brewing and more. With the addition of Church Restaurant to the Lincoln Park scene the neighborhood continues to establish itself as a place for unique eats, drinks and shopping.

There isn’t an exact opening date set for Church Restaurant, however the hope is that work can be completed within a year which would put an opening somewhere in mid to late 2020.

 

LUXURY APARTMENT BUILDING PLANNED NEAR THE SHORES OF LAKE SUPERIOR

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A new apartment building has been proposed for a site near the shores of Lake Superior.

Launch Properties is planning a six-story residential building for a site located at 2215 South Street. The site currently is home to four single-family homes and is situated directly behind Wendy’s and a commercial building located along London Road.

Plans show that the new building would include 98 market-rate apartments that would range in size and include micro, alcove, one bedroom, one-bedroom + den and two-bedroom units.

A number of different amenities would be included throughout the building. On the ground floor residents would have access to a large lobby and a business center, space for the leasing center and administrative offices along with the mailroom would also be included. The third floor of the building would be home to a large clubroom, a fitness room and a guest suite that would be available to book by residents. In addition, there would be a large amenity deck likely filled with outdoor seating, grilling areas and green space also located on that level.

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The new building wouldn’t be the only luxury housing within the area as the site is located directly next to Endi Apartments, a six-story mixed-use building that features luxury apartments and retail space that was completed a few years ago.

Launch Properties is the developer proposing the new project. The company entered the market last year when they developed Miller Hill Crossroads, a new retail building at the corner of Anderson Road and W Central Entrance that is home to Aspen Dental, Starbucks and one vacant retail space. They are also developing a 21,700 square foot multi-building retail development across the street called “The Jigsaw”. Seven spaces are available within the project with one space already having been leased by Chuck & Don’s (you can read more about that project here).

Plans for 2215 South Street will be presented to the Duluth Planning Commission at their next meeting next Wednesday, July 9th at 5:00pm.

 

HERE WE GO AGAIN. COSTCO APPARENTLY SCOUTING FOR DULUTH LOCATION

Could Costco be coming to Duluth… this time for real?

Multiple sources are stating that Costco is working with a local real estate company to find a suitable site for building a new store within the area. At the moment it is rumored that three sites are in the running with one site in particular, at the corner of Haines Road and Arrowhead Road, having been named.

The site located at 4699 W Arrowhead Road has been listed for sale for a number of years by Holappa Commercial Real Estate. In total the site covers 54.2 acres which is much more space than what Costco typically would need. Costco stores on average are around 150,000 square feet which requires anywhere between 20-30 acres of land. However, the company does have some locations that around 250,000 square feet which require extra acreage. Now, just because there are 54 acres of land that doesn’t mean Costco would need to take all it and therefore could easily carve out a perfect acreage amount for their store.

4699 W Arrowhead Road  (Holappa Commercial Real Estate)

4699 W Arrowhead Road (Holappa Commercial Real Estate)

Costco is still expanding in Minnesota. The company just yesterday opened a brand-new 162,000 square foot store, the second largest in the state, in St. Cloud. Another, even bigger store, has been announced for the Twin Cities suburb of Eagan and is expected to open in late 2019/early 2020. Currently there are 10 other Costco locations within the state of Minnesota with the closet to Duluth being located in Baxter.

Costco plans to open 20+ new stores this year and is currently planning another 20 or more locations that would open by 2022. Duluth is currently not listed as a planned location.

Rumors of Costco coming to Duluth have been swirling for a number of years. We actually originally posted about the rumors back in 2016 when the company was said to be opening a store within the market that year or the following.

We have yet to hear of the other two sites within the area that Costco could potentially be looking at. As always, we want to remind our readers that at the moment this only a rumor. But hey, rumors become reality sometimes. Just take the recent confirmation of HomeGoods opening with Duluth as an example. 

We will be sure to post more information on our website about Costco coming to Duluth once more information is available. Until then, take a moment to check out our Development Map to see all of the other exciting projects under construction and planned for the Twin Ports.

 

CHUCK & DON'S OPENING FIRST NORTHLAND LOCATION

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Duluth, you’re about to get a new pet store and we think you’re going to LOVE it.

Chuck & Don’s will open their first Northland location in Duluth this fall. The new store will be located in The Jigsaw retail development that will be constructed at the corner of Miller Trunk Highway and Anderson Road.

A BRIEF HISTORY LESSON

Founded in 1990, Chuck & Don’s began as a small retail shop by Chuck Anderson and Don Tauer. The two were destined to open a pet business together as at the time Chuck owned a dog kennel and Don owned a dog training school next door. The two joined forces and opened their first Chuck & Don’s location in Eagan, MN.

In 1993, Bob Hartzell became a business partner with Chuck and Don. Over time the three expanded their business from it’s single Minnesota location to over 45 locations within the Twin Cities, Southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.

WHAT MAKES CHUCK AND DON’S DIFFERENT?

Chuck & Don’s is committed to doing “what’s best for the customer and community” according to their website. They offer a large selection of quality food and treats, toys, pet accessories and more that have all been hand selected by Chuck & Don’s pet experts.

Team members at Chuck & Don’s are beyond knowledgable. They’re friendly, there to help and will go out of their way to ensure that you and your pet have everything you need.

When it comes to pets the place doesn’t just cater to dogs and cats. They also stock plenty of items for birds, reptiles and other small household animals truly making the place a one stop shop for pet owners.

When it comes to comparing Chuck and Don’s to other retailers the biggest thing you’ll notice right away is the size of the store. Chuck and Don’s locations range anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 square feet. To put that in perspective, their store locations are about a fifth of the size of your local Duluth PetSmart.

Now, don’t let that fool you. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean they won’t have anything and everything you need for your pet. In fact, they’re one of the best pet retailers to check out for specialized products that are hard to find anywhere else.

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THE LOCATION

Launch Properties is developing the retail project that Chuck and Don’s will call home. The project will have 21,700 square feet of retail space split into three different buildings. Chuck & Don’s will occupy 4,000 square feet of space within one of the multi-tenant buildings.

The project is the second in the area for Launch Properties. The company constructed the retail center kiddy corner to the site that today is home to Aspen Dental and Starbuck’s. One additional 2,500 square foot retail space within that development remains to be leased.

Mid-America Group is responsible for the leasing of The Jigsaw project. If your business would like to be Chuck and Don’s neighbor you can find more information on the retail development here.

Chuck & Don’s will open later this year at the corner of W Central Entrance and Anderson Road.

 

RENDERINGS REVEALED FOR ESSENTIA HEALTH'S $800 MILLION "VISION NORTHLAND" PROJECT

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Feast your eyes on the renderings for Essentia Health’s “Vision Northland.” 

The massive $800 million, 930,000 square foot project will see the creation of state-of-the-art medical facilities that will allow Essentia Health to be able to provide the highest level of health care to the Northland.

Plans for the “Vision Northland” project include $675 million for the creation of a new hospital tower, clinic and outpatient surgery center along with the renovation of 115,000 square feet of existing space. An additional $125 million will be used for infrastructure upgrades and financing costs.

The decision to build up versus out was intentional. Essentia Health wants to reduce their overall footprint within the Central Hillside neighborhood in order to open space for other development to occur. This plan will will ultimately create a stronger neighborhood that not only serves Essentia Health and the surrounding medical district but the community of Duluth as well.

Construction on the project is expected to begin this year with a completion set for 2022.

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

Something that is unique in the planning process for this project is that you have a chance to voice your opinion. The means you also have the chance to affect the overall design for the massive project.

Public comments will be accepted by the City of Duluth through March 13 and you’ve got a number of ways to submit yours.

You can access an electronic copy of the environmental assessment worksheet prepared by Essentia Health by clicking here. There are also hard copies provided at the main branch of the Duluth Public Library downtown and also at the Mount Royal and West Duluth branches. Lastly, the Duluth Planning and Economic Development Office (411 W. First St., Room 110) also has hard copies available. 

On March 12th at 5pm, the Duluth Planning Commission will hold a public hearing within the Council Chambers at City Hall for comments on the environmental worksheet. If you can’t make it to that meeting you can also submit questions or share ideas on the project by visiting Essentia Health’s Vision Northland website here.

With all this being said we have one last thing to say. Don’t waste this chance to make sure your voice is heard on the city of Duluth’s largest development project ever.

VACANT YOUNKER'S SPACE HAS FOUND A BUYER

Younker’s during it’s closing sale in 2018 (MPR News)

Younker’s during it’s closing sale in 2018 (MPR News)

What once was retail is now becoming space for healthcare.

It was a tough year last year at the Miller Hill Mall when not only Younker’s closed but also Sears, both due to bankruptcies. Many malls across are losing one anchor tenant, but to lose two within months of each other is very uncommon. The two closures left almost 300,000 square feet of vacant retail space at the Miller Hill Mall resulting in a major leasing challenge.

But good news, the vacant Younker’s space at the Miller Hill Mall officially has a buyer. 

Essentia Health has purchased the vacant space for $3.2 million. The building covers 145,000 square feet of space on two levels and has two different access points to the interior of the mall along with two different access points on the exterior leading to a large parking lot.

A RETAIL EPIDEMIC

While many were hoping for more retail to take over the space (rumors of Dillard’s even surfaced earlier in the year) the purchase by Essentia Heath and the change in use of the space is actually very common in the mall world these days.

Vacant Younker’s space (TDTDULUTH)

Vacant Younker’s space (TDTDULUTH)

With large vacancies occurring at malls throughout the country property owners have needed to get creative in finding ways to fill them and trust us, they have. Spaces have become large fitness centers, universities, creative office space, housing and more. 

In the Twin Cities multiple malls are dealing with the closing of anchor tenants just like the Miller Hill Mall. Southdale Center in Edina lost anchor tenant JCPenney and in response sold the vacant space to LifeTime Fitness who has since then torn down the building and is now constructing a massive fitness center, co-working space and retail space. Just North of Minneapolis Rosedale Center is dealing with the same problem of losing an anchor tenant when Herberger’s closed last year. Sources have stated that the JLL, the company that owns Rosedale Center, has plans to tear down the Herberger’s space and in its place build a large mixed-use development with housing, a hotel, retail/restaurant space and more.

So, with all this being said Essentia Health moving into the former Younker’s space isn’t out of the norm, it actually IS the new norm.

WHAT’S INSTORE (LITERALLY)?

That’s a good question. Not many details on what Essentia Health plans to do with the space have been made public. 

Rumors are swirling that the Essentia Health Fitness and Therapy Center located at 402 E. Second St. will be relocating from Downtown Duluth to the Younker’s space. The reason for the move is due to Essentia Health’s $800+ million “Vision Northland” plan which will replace the center with a large new medical building/campus.  

The relocation makes sense overall but the question that we are pondering is whether or not Essentia Health will truly take up the entire space.

WHAT WE THINK THE FUTURE COULD HOLD

To begin with, it’s a lot of space. Because it’s a lot of space it would make sense for Essentia Health to take over the upper floor and a portion of the lower level while designating some of the space that is directly next to the mall corridors for retail use. Whether or not Essentia Health would own that space and lease it themselves or potentially even sell it to the mall’s owner, Simon Properties, is a question that still remains.

Here’s another thing that could happen. Essentia Health could demolish the existing building altogether. 

Sounds pretty crazy… but it’s actually not when you think about it. Essentia Health is currently investing millions in a new Health and Wellness Center just down the road in Hermantown. What that might mean is that not all of the services currently offered at the downtown fitness center would transfer (i.e. the swimming pools) to the Younker’s space as they may be offered at the Hermantown Wellness Center. And, if they do plan on offering the exact same services there is going to need to be some SIGNIFICANT construction occurring in the existing space in order transform it. There’s a potential chance that the overall cost for rehabbing the current space might actually be more than just building an entirely new building itself.

At the moment we don’t have many details to share on the exact plans that Essentia Health has instore but when we do we’ll be sure to post more information about them right here.

 

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?

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.

 

Essentia Health plans Hermantown Wellness Center

Twin Ports residents, your wish has been granted.

That wellness center (think community center) that you've been dreaming about for decades now might not be that far down the road... literally. Essentia Health along with the city of Hermantown announced recently that a new $17 million wellness center will be built on the corner of Arrowhead Road and Ugsted Road in Hermantown.

Construction of the new facility will take place on the site of the former Hermantown MIddle School. The land and building where generously donated by the Hermantown school board. A portion of the building will be reused while an addition will also be added allowing the structure to cover 72,000 square feet in area (almost three times the size of your local Michael's Arts and Crafts store).

Essentia Health will gain the name rights for the entire facility after a generous $2 million donation was made allowing the initial conception of the project to move forward. As more fundraising takes place for the project naming rights within the building including community spaces, such as the gym, will be awarded.

Interior rendering  | LHB

WHAT'S INSIDE?

Plans for the building include quite a bit. The focal point of the project will be the aquatics center, a space that will include a swimming pool along with, hold your chairs kids, a play area COMPLETE with water slide.

The rest of the building will include space for the local YMCA along with Essentia Health and of course communal spaces. Within those spaces a gym, fitness center with locker rooms, clinic spaces, daycare, classrooms, and other community space will be included. It will truly be a space for the community to take pride and gather in.

THE FUNDS

Funding for $17 million project will come from a few different resources. $2 million as previously mentioned will come from Essentia Health. Another $2.5 million will come from the YMCA while $8 million is expected to come from the state (if approved in the 2016 legislative session). The remaining $4.5 million will come from the city of Hermantown along with St. Louis county. 

Essentia Health's donation will not only give it overall naming rights but also 9,000 square feet of space within the building to house a clinic featuring wellness programs along with space for sports and physical therapy.

TIMELINE

If all goes according to plan and the project receives state aid, construction would begin in 2017 with an opening scheduled for Spring 2018. The project would employ 15 full time employees and nearly 200 part-time employees. 

As always, check back to CDINDULUTH for the latest in Twin Ports development news!

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!

 

 

United Properties proposes 85 unit apartment project for Kenwood corner

The saying goes "Good things come to those who wait". Here at CDINDULUTH we like to say "Bigger things come to those who wait" and the recent proposal for a new development on a busy Kenwood neighborhood shows that there might be some truth to our saying.

United Properties showed the city of Duluth today their official plans for a development called Kenwood Village that would be built on the bustling corner of Kenwood Avenue and Arrowhead Road. Standing four stories tall (five with parking), the building includes 85 apartment units along with 14,000 square feet of first floor retail. The development would without a doubt dramatically change the vacant corner.

Second time's a charm

(United Properties)

United Properties had previously proposed a 14,000 square foot retail center for the site. We wrote about back in December about a 14,000 square foot retail development that United Properties was proposing for the site. At that time rumors were swirling of a Caribou Coffee and Bruegger's Bagels opening up within the development however no tenants were officially announced.

Almost as soon as the development was introduced it was noted that United Properties was exploring the option of including housing on the site too that would result in a drastic redesign of what was planned. Well, now we know that plan is set in concrete... or about to be at least.

What's included?

The Duluth News Tribune had a nice breakdown of how exactly the project will be broken up. United Properties is looking to include about 34 one bedroom units, 21 two bedroom units, 12 three bedroom units, and the rest would be studio units (give or take a few). 

The first floor of the building still will feature about 14,000 square feet of retail space which could be divided in a multitude of ways (one could still feature that Caribou Coffee and Bruegger's Bagels as originally mentioned).

Developers are looking at leasing to a casual restaurant of some sort (could we see Duluth's second Chipotle or Noodles & Company) along with other retailers that would be service oriented such as a bank or wireless carrier like AT&T.

The project would also provide about 190 parking spaces in what appears to be two levels of parking, one of which would be underground 

View from Cleveland Street (United Properties)

View from Cleveland Street (United Properties)

So how much are we talking?

How much is United Properties about to sink into this corner if all goes as planned and rezoning variances are granted? We looking at a number around $20 million however nothing has been set in stone and the development could run even more. 

Exact rents for the building have yet to be determined and won't be for a while. However Vice President Keith Ulstad is quoted saying that rents could range between $1.40 to $2 as mentioned by the DNT. That means a 500 square foot studio would be around $700 a month, with a one bedroom coming in around $1,200-$1,400 and the two bedrooms around $2,000. Pricing would be similar to comparable units found within the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

What about the traffic?

As with any development, more people means more traffic. It's inevitable. But hey, you live in a growing city and unfortunately in a society dependent on vehicular transportation traffic is unavoidable with growth.

Access for the project would be off Arrowhead Road and Cleveland Street which would help lighten the headache on Kenwood Avenue. Developers are even willing to give up a 10 foot wide strip of land in order for a dedicated left turn land to be able to be built. United Properties would also be willing to pay for traffic light upgrades.

Developers will need to rezone a portion of the property in order for construction to be able to begin. If that goes according to plan we could see shovels hit the ground in late summer and see residents moving in by late summer 2016.

BlueStone Commons embarks on next residential phase

More residential units (and when we say more we mean A LOT more) are planned for the BlueStone Commons development on Woodland Avenue in Duluth. In fact, 142 units are under construction as we type and you read. 

The Duluth News Tribune revealed more information today about developer Mark Lambert's plans for the continuously growing BlueStone Commons development that began a little over two years ago with the construction of BlueStone Lofts. 

BlueStone Flats will be the name for the second residential building that will be located to the northeast of the current residential building. At 4 stories tall the new building is slightly shorter but will include 42 more units that the first building for a grand total of 142 units in an F shaped building plan. Designed by Minneapolis based ESG Architects the new building features modern design elements that compliment the first housing phase of the development.

BlueStone Flats (Summit Management)

New amenities for the second phase will include an indoor swimming pool, club room and a fitness center. Other special amenities will include a sauna and massage room along with, drum roll please, a pet bathing area. Yes folks, you will be able to officially bring your beloved cat child and canine friend to BlueStone. All amenities will be available for any BlueStone resident.

Units within BlueStone Flats will be smaller than those at BlueStone Lofts with most units sized for one to two residents. While the units will feature largely the same finishes as the first phase, including custom cabinetry and granite countertops, one major difference between the first and second phase is that the lofts will include units with balconies. 

Demand has been so high for units at BlueStone Commons that developers are already planning a third residential phase even as the shovels just sink into the freshly thawed ground for the second phase. That third phase will be called BlueStone Vue and will include roughly 100 more units planned occupancy in 2017.

Construction on BlueStone Flats is projected to be finished by May 2016 with an early summer occupancy.