Posts in Expansion

Bowling Lanes | Skyline Social & Games

After a multi-million-dollar renovation and a 6,000 square foot expansion, Skyline Social & Games is ready for their official grand re-opening tomorrow, September 27th.

Skylines Lanes has occupied the same site at 4894 Miller Trunk Highway for over 20 years. Tomorrow a new chapter will begin as Skyline just recently completed a massive renovation that not only introduced new branding and an upgraded atmosphere, but also new experiences and games.

When visiting Skyline Social & Games you’ll noticed a refreshed interior that features an industrial vibe not only in the bowling lanes but throughout the entire building. During the renovation the restaurant was also updated and its bar expanded (which now includes 36 different types of beer on tap).

With the remodel two large entertainment options were also added which include duckpin bowling and a virtual reality experience.

Now if that virtual reality experience peaked your interest let us fill you in a bit more on what exactly it is. Called “Hologate”, the VR experience last about 8-minutes and can be experienced with a total of four players of all ages. The experience puts you on an exhilarating adventure in a new dimension where “you’ll fight robots, zombies, and dragons, or even challenge each other with virtual snow balls” according to the company’s website.

Hologate VR Experience | Skyline Social & Games

Arcade Area | Skyline Social & Games

It’s not the only new game that’s been added though, 30+ new arcade games have also been added each with digital card readers.

The renovation and re-branding comes at a perfect time as Skyline has been busier than ever. From May to October they host nearly 3,000 different players during weeknights who come for volleyball, bocce ball, bean bags and spike ball. In the winter the types of events switch to include indoor bowling leagues which include craft beer bowling, poker bowling leagues and more. Skyline also hosts a number of different private parties throughout the year that include corporate events, graduations, reunions, birthdays and more. As a part of the renovation those birthday parties have only gotten better as “glow” party rooms and black light bright rooms have been added.

Sounds like we just made your Friday night plans, right?

Skyline Social & Games is located at 4894 Miller Trunk Highway and officially reopens to the public on Friday, September 27th.

Punch Pizza may have Duluth in its future

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

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

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

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

There's more to this place than just pizza

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

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

Now where does Duluth come into the picture?

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

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

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

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

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


Kwik Trip plans third West Duluth location

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

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

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

Proposed Kwik Trip location  |  Duluth Planning Commission


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

And then there's the Iron Range...

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

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

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

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

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Super One begins renovation of Plaza Shopping Center location

In five months Super One will debut an entirely new look at their Superior Street location in East Duluth. The Duluth News Tribune spoke of the project today that will include a floor to ceiling renovation and even an expansion.

You might be asking yourself where in the world an expansion could occur in such a dense area... right next door is your answer.

The former Mr. Movies space along with a space behind the building will be used in order to expand the current store by 7,600 square feet bringing the total to 37,000 square feet, a 20 percent increase according to the DNT.

Above: Super One's newest store in Superior, WI

When the Plaza Shopping Center's renovation is complete the space will feature new flooring and display cases, restrooms, and an entirely new color scheme of gold, green, burgundy, and blue. That yellow that has been so prominently displayed in Super One stores over the years is taking a more muted placed within the new store design.

Above: New store interior design (DSGW Architects)

Above: New store interior design (DSGW Architects)

Besides the interior finishes of the space the deli will move to the southeast side allowing for the creation of a seating area that will look over Lief Erickson Park and of course the beautiful Lake Superior.

The Mr. Movies space once completely gutted and the walls separating the two spaces come down will become the produce area and open in August. Once the produce section moves it will allow for the renovation of the rest of the store to begin.

The exterior will also receive a renovation, sporting two entrances once complete and of course the exterior signature design that Super One has adopted over the years (pictured above).

The expansion and renovation is scheduled to be complete before the first of the year.