Posts in Renovations
A NEW LOOK AND EXPERIENCE FOR SKYLINE LANES

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.

 
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.

 
HOMEGOODS OPENING DULUTH LOCATION
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Rumors confirmed. HomeGoods is opening in Duluth. 

HomeGoods will open a new 23,458 square foot store at 5115 Burning Tree Road in a retail space that was formerly home to Dunham Sports (and just one space away crom TJMaxx. The new store is expected to begin construction this fall with an opening anticipated before the end of the year. 

Duluthians have had a HomeGoods store on their wish list for quite some time and a few months ago rumors began swirling that the retailer was coming to Duluth.

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The company is owned by TJMaxx and operates on the same business model of selling amazing finds at incredible savings.” The difference between the two retailers is that instead of selling clothing like TJMaxx HomeGoods focuses on household furniture, décor and other household items. 

HomeGoods currently has 14 Minnesota locations with 12 located in the Twin Cities along with one location in St. Cloud and Rochester.

 

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.

 

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?

DULUTH PACK TO REMODEL FLAGSHIP STORE

Duluth's iconic Duluth Pack store will undergo a renovation in the coming months that will include an expansion of it's retail offerings.

Located in Canal Park, the store at 365 Canal Park Drive is spread over 8,500 square feet and originally opened in 1991. The renovation will keep the stores "outdoors brought indoors" look while the physical space will be re-configured to allow for a better customer experience. 

As part of the renovation Duluth Pack plans to capitalize on it's outdoor feel by introducing several large trees into the space. The company felt it was important to maintain that outdoor feeling as it has become some an major part of the brand.

The physical footprint of the store will not expand as the store is book ended by other retail stores on each sides. However through an evaluation of back of house space versus retail space, the stock areas will be streamlined and therefore can be made smaller allowing for the retail space to increase.

The renovation will begin later this month with an anticipated completion in March.

 

Build-A-Bear Workshop to renovate Duluth location

Build-A-Bear Workshop's newest store design | MDS

Build-A-Bear Workshop® is planning to freshen up their Miller Hill Mall location at 1600 Miller Trunk Highway by bringing the company's newest store design to the Twin Ports.

Planning for a Duluth Build-A-Bear Workshop® location stretches all the way back to 2011 when the company made it public that it was opening a location within the Miller Hill Mall. In October 2014 the Duluth location finally opened at the Miller Hill Mall in a space that formerly housed Torrid, a plus-sized women's clothing store.

When the construction barricades for Build-A-Bear Workshop® came down it was somewhat surprising to see that not much had changed architecturally from what was in place from the tenant before, which is very unlikely for the company's new stores. The company's signature yellow and blue tones covered the space in a fresh coat of paint, however the space didn't feature the whimsical bear land (to it's fullest extent) that customers often find within their stores.

THAT'S ABOUT TO CHANGE

On March 9th construction bids were submitted by various companies for $299,999 worth of work on behalf of Build-A-Bear Workshop® at the Miller Hill Mall. That's more than just some fresh paint on the walls. It's a full renovation.

Last year Build-A-Bear Workshop® debuted a new store prototype design that has now begun to be rolled out across the country. The company had previously been hurting in sales and was looking for new ways to engage customers, while elevating the brand. The solution was in their store design.

Build-A-Bear Workshop at Mall of America | MDS

Mall of America was one of the first locations to receive this design in the country. It's far more modern than the previous design and uses the blue and yellow colors in block formations. This means that instead of the facade being clad in both colors like it previously was, it now is clad in custom blue metal that was designed and crafted just for Build-A-Bear Workshop®. With the exterior being blue, the interior naturally takes on the yellow color, allowing the company to main their roots while introducing a simpler and cleaner look.

Duluth's 2,154 square foot location will be completely renovated from head to toe, well, ceiling to floor, including a new storefront and all new interior. Inside customers will be able to create characters by using a number of interactive stations along.

NEW STORE DETAILS

An interactive storefront will allow customers to engage with digital signage embedded in the facade that can change depending on the seasons, holiday, and special events. Directly inside there store will be the Choose Me station where guests will find all the characters Build-A-Bear Workshop® has to offer. From there they'll move onto the Love Me station which uses an interactive digital table that allows guests to add unique traits to a heart that is then placed within their character.

Hear Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Hear Me station uses an interactive touch screen with a number of sounds that can be inserted inside the character, even allowing guests to put their favorite music or their own voice on a chip that can be inserted into the character. How cool is that?

From the Hear Me station guests move to the Stuff Me station where their character is filled with stuffing and becomes that adorable, huggable character they've always wanted. New to Build-A-Bear Workshop® are SCENTIments, allowing guests characters to smell like bubble gum, strawberry, cotton candy, or even chocolate chip! Don't let the family dog get too close when you get home or you might find yourself visiting Build-A-Bear Workshop® again quite soon.

Logically the next step is to close the seams and complete the character. Here's what's REALLY cool. Build-A-Bear Workshop® now has a program called "Find-A-Bear ID" which inserts a barcode within each character. This allows the character to be reunited with their owner if ever lost as the person who finds it can bring it to any Build-A-Bear Workshop® and the owner will be notified. 

This barcode also generates a unique code that guests receive on their character's birth certificate... yes, birth certificate, that allows their character to come to life online where they can play games and do all sorts of things with their new friend.

Name Me station | Build-A-Bear Workshop®

The Fluff Me station is where guest's characters can take a bath in a digital bath tub (hello 21st century) which can recognize items placed in it and response with sensory effects. Naturally the character will need some clothing because who let's stuffed animals go naked these days? Just visit Dress Me station which includes tons of character clothing and Match Me technology which allows guests to see what's new and also suggest outfits.

Last by not least, it's time to visit the Name Me station. Here guests use a viewfinder that reveals all the attributes and personality traits within their character. A name is picked and a birth certificate, which even includes a photo of their character, is created.

Now it's time to head home... but not too quick! Visit the Take Me Home station which resembles a Build-A-Bear Workshop Cub Condo® to receive your membership and reward program details, along with the birth certificate you printed, and of course the Cub Condo carrying case for your character to ensure they're safe for their travels back home.

You never know so much went into building a stuffed animal did ya? Now you know. 

Build-A-Bear Workshop® will most likely move to a temporary space within the mall while renovations are completed. Construction will begin this Spring with a completion in Summer 2016.

 
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!

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.

 
Alakef plans first retail location

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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