Posts in Redevelopment
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.