Three retail spaces leased for the Shops at BlueStone Phase III

The first three of six planned businesses that will call the Shops at BlueStone Phase III have been released. The third phase for the retail portion of the BlueStone development is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in Spring 2015.

Following the overwhemingly successful first two phases of the Shops at Bluestone, which are 100% leased and thriving, the second phase will add about 40% more retail space to the site. The third phase of development consists of two retail buildings on the corner of Woodland Avenue and East Clover Street. The buildings together will house around 10,500 square feet of retail space.

Above: Phase three of the project currently be developed.   (Image provided by the Shops at Bluestone)

Above: Phase three of the project currently be developed. (Image provided by the Shops at Bluestone)

So now onto the signed leases and what you started reading this post for. It was confirmed this past week that three retailers will officially call the third phase home. They will be... drumroll please...

Jimmy Johns, which will be the city of Duluth's third location, Pearl Nails and Spa, which will be owned an operated by the same owner as Diamond Nails on Central Entrance, and Members Cooperative Credit Union which currently has two other Duluth locations.

Three additional retail spaces are still available within the project. Currently there are said to be negotiations underway for each of those spaces with an announcement soon to come. Construction also will begin early next year on the second phase of housing for the BlueStone development called "BlueStone Flats." More information regarding that project will be at your finger tips soon.

As always, check back to CDINDULUTH for more news regarding this development and others within the Twin Ports.

Our Guesses

So what in the world could those three mystery tenants be? Who knows. But what retailers or restaurants could be on the list of contenders... there's some logical choices. Here's what we think could be some possibilities. 

There's been talk of Noodles and Company looking for a second Duluth location ever since their wildly successful first location opened last year in the Miller Hill Mall and let's be honest, who loves noodles more than college students? No one. 

Panera Bread also at one point stated that they had a potential location in the works for a spot near the college campuses along Woodland Avenue. This seems like the best spot possible for Panera Bread and there is still a considerable amount of space left which would be perfectly suitable to house a Panera Bread.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop would be another logical choice as they LOVE to go in developments near colleges. There have been a few sources stating that the company is looking to expand to the Duluth area, however no official plans regarding expansion have been made public.

Other various business types that we see filling the spaces would be a tanning shop of some sort or a shipping place along the lines of FedEx Office or The UPS Store.

To be honest though... the possibilities are endless. What we do know is that space within the Shops at BlueStone won't be available for long and that the third phase most likely will be 100% leased upon opening as was the first two phases. It seems as the BlueStone development continues to grow that the Shops at BlueStone continues to prove that it is one of the hottest, if not THE hottest, retail development spots within the Twin Ports. 


More shops coming to the Shops at Bluestone


With all retail spaces filled... it makes sense to start planning the next phase! Well, that's just what's happening at the Shops at Bluestone, Duluth's newest (and arguably the most talked about) retail development in quite some time. This is the new retail center near the University of Minnesota Duluth. The Shops at Bluestone has six tenants (seven with the Tavern on the Hill) including Starbucks, Chilly Billy's, Northern Communities Credit Union / Kat's Eyes Optical, Waxing the City and the soon to be first Qdoba location in Northern Minnesota. The roughly 10,000 square foot retail center was completely leased before construction had even finished. Now developer Mark Lambert, the man responsible for the entire Bluestone Commons development, is on to planning Phase II of the successful retail center.

The second phase of the Shops at Bluestone will include two retail buildings, one that is 5,100 square feet and the other will be 5,400 square feet. To give you a size estimate, it's a little larger than Phase I if you don't include the Tavern on the Hill space. Phase II will be built south of Phase I on land that is currently home to about six homes. All homes will be razed in order to make room for the new retail buildings.

Now, if you're thinking what in the world could call this space home... we will hold off from pulling out the "2014 Retailer Almanac (Deluxe Edition)" of restaurants and stores that have yet to call Duluth home.... because to be honest, there is quite a list. What we will probably end up seeing with Phase II is not the idea of "if " they can fill the space, but rather the idea of what retailers end up getting the CHANCE to call the Shops at Bluestone home. We're quite certain there will be no issue in attracting new retailers to the space based on the success of the current businesses in place.

One thing that we can assure you is that we can kill two rumors right away for the site. The first is that a Walgreen's was slated for the site that Phase II is to be built on. There is simply not enough room for that one to be true. Unless some significant alterations happen to the site plan before construction starts, it's not possible. It's not to say that Walgreen's couldn't still be a part of a later phase? We'll stay on the lookout.

The other rumor that was floating around was that this next retail component of the Shops at Bluestone could be home to the first Trader Joe's location in Duluth. Not true. We'll squash that one without hesitation... with a somber heart we might add. We are NOT saying that Trader Joe's is not coming to Duluth (we actually just spoke with a few sales associates at a couple of locations who say that company is actively looking at the north (hint, hint) for expansion), but once again, there simply isn't enough room for a Trader Joe's in Phase II.

So long story short... what retailers may we see calling this place home? It wouldn't surprise us to see another fast casual restaurant (Panera Bread anyone?) along with another financial institution of some sort. Also, some type of smaller clothing retailer aimed towards college students would be a logical choice. That's a trend that has been starting to pop up in retail centers near universities across the country within the past year.

With those two rumors being addressed, the second component of retail for the Shops at Bluestone will begin construction in this summer with an expected completion in Spring 2015. Future phases for the Bluestone Commons development will most likely include more retail on the former Woodland Middle School site (Walgreen's or Trader Joe's maybe?) along with the potential for additional housing units. 

Duluth's newest Starbucks to open Friday March 14th.


We've got the official opening date for one of the first retailers to open at The Shops at BlueStone... and it's one that will keep those students energized for all those finals coming up in a few months.

Starbucks will open their fourth Duluth location (yes the one in Target actually does count as a location) at 5am on Friday, March 14th. A Starbucks spokesperson said the company had been searching for another "great location to better meet the needs of our customers" within the Duluth area for quite sometime. The new 1,848 square foot location will employ 17 partners (employees) and will be the first location in the area to offer a drive-thru. This location also will be unique in the fact that it will introduce Clover® brewing system to the Northland. If you're unfamiliar with the system, prepare your tastebuds to experience coffee like they have never tasted before. Here's how Starbucks describes the system.

Clover System (Image from Starbucks)

Clover System (Image from Starbucks)

Introduced in 2007, the system has "an innovative design that lets you discover new layers and dimensions within a coffee's familiar aroma, flavor, body, and acidity." Yes, that is exactly how Starbucks describes it incase you were wondering. We've actually tried a cup of coffee from the Clover® brewing system before and we do have to say it is quite amazing. Why is it so good? Well, not only is the machine technologically savvy, but it also brews just one cup of carefully prepared, made to order, coffee at a time. The system uses "Vacuum-Press™ technology to create your cup of coffee right in front of you." It's actually pretty cool. The barista will place the coffee grounds onto a stainless steel filter which will then lower into the brew chamber. There hot water will be added at a precise temperature and will brew for the perfect amount of time. It's all automated here people, literally the system has a computer that communicates with the Starbucks home office. The Clover® brewing system monitors each element of the brewing process digitally due to the fact that even the smallest of changes can drastically affect the taste of your coffee. There's even a thermal blanket that surrounds the brewing chamber to ensure that water stays within 1 degree fahrenheit of the perfect brewing temperature. Once the brewing process has finished, the coffee is pulled through a filter and "the grounds are pushed out of the top of the machine." The perfect cup of coffee then flows down into the cup and your tastebuds begin to dance with anticipation.

We're not going to lie, it's kind of a big deal that this location will have a Clover® brewing system. They're only in select stores across the country, so yes, we should feel special. Starbucks newest Duluth location will also feature a fireplace which clearly will be fully utilized by the surrounding student population during the winter. The exact design of the store has yet to revealed, however some stores have educational design elements to them when in close proximity to Universities. Design elements celebrating the surrounding college may be present, otherwise many Starbucks locations are currently sporting a vintage look with dramatic woods and lighting.

Starbucks invites customers to preview event at the store on Thursday, March 13th from 4pm to 7pm. 

New restaurant announced for the Shops at BlueStone


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Right here.


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

***UPDATE... Chipotle will be opening at the Miller Hill Mall and Qdoba at BlueStone

And lastly...

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

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