Posts tagged BlueStone Commons

Could Target’s newest small format store design be coming to Duluth? New renderings of BlueStone Commons may provide a hint.

Yesterday we posted an article about plans submitted to the city by the developers of BlueStone Commons. Unfortunately at this time those renderings provide few details for the project besides the fact that it would be much larger than expected. Depicted are an 11 story residential building along with a large freestanding retail building adjacent to it

While developers last year stated that they would like to attract a grocery tenant along the lines of Trader Joe’s or Aldi to the site it appears that while that large retail space would be perfectly suitable for them that it could in fact be a home to another retailer. Target.

You might be a frequent Target shopper like us and therefore might be saying to yourself how would a Target fit in such a small space. The answer? Target’s new small format store design.

In 2014 “Target Express” debuted in Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood with the 20,000 square foot store being about a sixth of the size of a typical Target location. While the "express" part of the name has been dropped from the concept as the expansion of the store design continues the basic business model remains. Small stores ranging between 16,000 and 30,000 square feet that can fit in to densely populated areas.

Flash forward to today and there are over 20 of these small format stores either open or in the works across the country.

Target's Dinkytown location | Target


Rendering showing the retail space planned for BlueStone Commons | Planning Commission

The new small format stores offer the “best” of what Target has to offer. What that means is that instead of finding 15 types of toilet paper, you might only find 8. Same goes for all of the departments within the stores. You also may not find ALL of the departments that you would find in a typical Target location as the stores are built for the demographics found in the surrounding neighborhoods.

In Minnesota there currently are two of these small format locations open, one located in Minneapolis' Dinkytown neighborhood while the other is in St. Paul’s Highland neighborhood.

While the Dinkytown location is geared towards college students, the Highland location is geared towards the surrounding neighborhood of families and adults and includes Target’s upper-end Threshold brand along with a focus on wellness and family products. A third small format location will open next year in a new mixed-use development in the heart of Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood called “Revel”.

Duluth’s BlueStone Commons would be a perfect fit for a new small format Target as it is close to both colleges and dense neighborhoods, a demographic that this small format model was originally built for. While Target recently closed their location in Superior there has always been sources stating that Target was looking to open a second Duluth location, ideally in East Duluth. As noted by one of our readers the renderings provided by BlueStone Common’s developers show the retail space including a bright red canopy along with the signature red Target spheres in front of the store. Could it be the first hint?

While renderings don’t always depict what will in the end become reality, they do provide a good insight in to what tenant’s developers are looking to attract to a site or those tenants in which they may already be in negotiations with. To bring even more truth to a potential Target at BlueStone, recently various sources have reported that Target has been seeking construction bids within the Twin Ports. Could this be for a new location at BlueStone Commons or could it be for improvements to their location near the Miller Hill Mall? Time will tell.

As more details become available on BlueStone Commons and their exciting final phase, whether that includes a Target or not, you’ll be sure to find them right here at CDINDULUTH.


An aerial showing a mass diagram of the final phase of BlueStone Commons | Duluth Planning Commission

BlueStone Commons final phase of development will be its largest phase yet.

The final phase, tentatively called BlueStone Vue, might actually give a little more meaning to the word “view”. Developers last year stated that they were working on plans for a mixed-use building that would include at least 100 residential units along with an undisclosed amount of retail.

While it seemed at that time that developers were proposing a building that would be comparable in size to BlueStone Lofts and BlueStone Flats, the other two residential buildings within BlueStone Commons, we see now that plans have grown significantly.

Plans have been submitted by the developers to the City of Duluth’s planning commission requesting a height variance for the site. Plans show an 11 story residential building standing 123’ feet in height along with a larger retail building sitting adjacent to the residential tower.

Now before you think that might be out of a scale for the area, take a look at the site section diagram below. There you will be able to see that the building would actually be no higher than the tallest adjacent buildings such as the Mount Royal apartments and the Grigg's residential hall at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

A section diagram showing the height of the new building with the surrounding buildings in the area | Duluth Planning Commission

Doran has constructed a similar residential building in both size and function within Minneapolis’ Dinkytown neighborhood called “The Bridges.” It too stands 11 stories tall and features 211 residential units aimed at students enrolled in the University of Minnesota. It seems that Doran might be looking to take a similar route with a building of the same scale here at BlueStone Commons.


As mentioned above, there will also be retail space within the final phase. It appears that there will be a larger amount of retail than originally expected as mass studies show a big box anchor retail space that would be constructed in front of the new residential tower. While no specific details have been made available regarding the size of the retail space it looks to be around 25,000 square foot (think about the size of a Michael's store) and also seems to be designed for one large retailer.

Now what could that tenant be? It seems logical that BlueStone Commons could see the addition of a grocery store of some type within the development. Developers had stated years back that they would like to lure something along the line of a Trader Joe’s or Aldi to the site, something that would benefit not only the residents within the project but also the surrounding area. 

Requests for more information have been sent to Doran regarding this new exciting project. The project will officially go before the Duluth Planning Commission at their November 15th meeting.

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!


St. Scholastica shows off new building planned for BlueStone Commons

The new Health and Science Pavilion building planned for BlueStone Commons | College of St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica has officially unvieled their plans for a new building at the successful BlueStone Commons development off Woodland Avenue in Duluth.

The Duluth News Tribune shed light on the project that will be called the Health and Science Pavilion and will be constructed on the site that formerly was home to the Woodland Middle School. The college will hold an official ground breaking ceremony today for the new $17.1 million project which is expected to open by Summer 2016.

Standing three stories tall, the 45,000 square foot building will be home to the graduate occupational and physical therapy programs that the college currently houses on their main campus. There is hope that a new physician assitant program also will call the building home if accrediation is achieved by next summer. However, the building will be more than just a space for learning.

Located within the building will also be the Maurices Community Clinic, a free on-site clinic that was made possible by a generous donation from maurices corporation. The programs within the building will offer services through the clinic allowing the students to have real life experiences pertaining to the education just floors blow.


Now there have been a few questions regarding why The College of St. Scholastica would build a building closer to UMD than their own campus. Well, if you look at the BlueStone Commons development as a whole then you'll notice it clearly is a perfect fit.

With BlueStone Lofts finished and filled with residents, the new BlueStone Flats under construction, and the wildly successful retail component of the BlueStone Commons development, the Shops at BlueStone, completing it's third phase within the month, it's clear this is the place to be.

It also makes sense when you consider the fact that most of the residents within the residential buildings at BlueStone Commons are graduate students, the same people in which would enroll in the programs offered at the new Health and Science Pavilion.


While the St. Scholastica's development will take up a large space of the remaining land available at BlueStone Commons, developer Mark Lambert is not done yet.

BlueStone Vue will be the next residential building to be constructed directly next door the St. Scholastica's new building. The will also be additional retail space added to the Shops at BlueStone (most likely within the BlueStone Vue project itself). BlueStone Vue is expected to begin construction in late 2016 with completion expected in Fall 2017.



Shops at BlueStone quickly fills up

The Shop at BlueStone's newest retail buildings are filling up and very quickly we might add. What is technically the third phase for the project features five retail spaces in two buildings, four of which have already been leased including two that already are occupied by operating retail businesses.

Jimmy John's opened their third Duluth location this past month within the new retail building that abuts next to the first phase of the Shops at BlueStone. In that building Members Cooperative Credit Union opened what is also their third Duluth location last month. The last tenant for the space, Pearl Nails & Spa, will open by May 1st. 

The second part of this next phase of retail development for BlueStone Commons will feature a building that will house a Pizza Hut and Wing Street location along with an additional tenant that has yet to be confirmed. Developer Mark Lambert is hoping for an asian restaurant of some sort to open within the space.

Work continues at the Shops at BlueStone. The building under construction will include a Pizza Hut | Wing Street location along with additional tenant.

Now what exactly could be that sought after asian tenant we are not sure. However we do believe that LeeAnn Chin currently is the most logical choice for the space as at the moment the company only has one Duluth location. That location is within the Miller Hill Mall and it is technically a rarity for the company as it is a food court location. There could be a multitude of other asian restaurants including local restaurants that might be looking to expand.

There is still an additional retail phase planned for the BlueStone Commons development that will likely include twice the amount of retail already present on site. The exact plans for that phase have yet to be solidified however original plans did include over 30,000 square feet of retail (the size of a Bed, Bath, and Beyond location).

As more details emerge we'll be sure to sure to let you know right here at CDINDULUTH!

BlueStone Commons embarks on next residential phase

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

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

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

BlueStone Flats (Summit Management)

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

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

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

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

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!