Downtown Minneapolis Retail News

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
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Nick
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby Nick » December 6th, 2013, 4:28 pm


MNdible
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby MNdible » December 6th, 2013, 6:00 pm

I've actually had very good experiences at Best Buy the last couple of times I've shopped there -- whether or not it saves their skin, I think they've turned the corner in terms of customer experience.

In general, I'm very pessimistic about retailing in general. A lot of people here talk about how Nicollet Mall should have more small storefronts. Who exactly will be renting out these little very expensive storefronts? Artisanal candle makers? Video rental stores? Another Starbucks?

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby Tyler » December 7th, 2013, 11:39 am

MNdible wrote: In general, I'm very pessimistic about retailing in general. A lot of people here talk about how Nicollet Mall should have more small storefronts. Who exactly will be renting out these little very expensive storefronts? Artisanal candle makers? Video rental stores? Another Starbucks?
This is a weird opinion. Unless "in general" means downtown minnepolis specifically. Because there are plenty of cities with thriving retail areas based on small storefronts. Mostly clothing stores -- but other stuff like furniture shores, housewares, gift shops, etc. Mixed in with restaurants, salons, grocery stores, coffee shops, and banks. This is what makes a city -- and I don't think this model is going away. Rue St Denis in Montreal isn't becoming a ghost town any time soon...
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby John » December 7th, 2013, 12:39 pm

Downtown Minneapolis doesn't live up to its potential as far as retail goes. The booming Washington Ave and the North Loop areas should be emerging as a new retail center like the Pearl District in Portland. Nicollet Mall could attract more national retailers if there was a more concerted effort by the landlords and the Downtown Council to promote our city to retailers on a national level. The Ritz Block is ground zero for a new retail center like Westlake Center in Seattle. We need some ambitious developers with vision and guts.

web

Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby web » December 7th, 2013, 4:19 pm

But Portland and Seattle have maybe 1 skyway each. I feel the skyways have destroyed the outdoor people effext of dt mpls. I am in Portland this Sat and there are tons of people downtown and 100s of shops , restaurants and bars. NO skyways and its 20 degrees out!

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby John » December 8th, 2013, 1:34 am

^^^And they don't have that god forsaken Mall Of America to contend with either. But I still think our downtown can do better. I'm hopeful it will.

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby Tyler » December 8th, 2013, 10:23 am

What successful North American retail areas are right in the middle to the CBD? I can't think of any. Even San Fransisco and NYC's are dead on weekends. So if we're trying to emulate other cities, we should be looking to turn a nearby area into a retail destination. But no where else has the bones for it, except uptown.
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby John » December 8th, 2013, 11:17 am

Really? I've been in both cities on Sundays and the downtown retail areas were busy. Anyways, I don't believe we should really copy any city. The point of comparison is to suggest strong retail is totally possible in the core of an economically healthy city ( and Minneapolis is certainly very prosperous!). The North Loop and the Nicollet Mall areas already have some established retail. It just needs to be enhanced. Some of that could happen by filling in the gaps caused by surface parking lots, and renovating existing buildings to promote more stores with street frontage. 510 Marquette is going to be an interesting building to watch as the open up the base and create storefronts. I'm confident its going to be highly successful.

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby MNdible » December 8th, 2013, 2:14 pm

Tyler wrote:This is a weird opinion. Unless "in general" means downtown minnepolis specifically. Because there are plenty of cities with thriving retail areas based on small storefronts. Mostly clothing stores -- but other stuff like furniture shores, housewares, gift shops, etc. Mixed in with restaurants, salons, grocery stores, coffee shops, and banks. This is what makes a city -- and I don't think this model is going away. Rue St Denis in Montreal isn't becoming a ghost town any time soon...
I know, I'm so weird.

My point was that a lot of the types of retail uses that have filled in small storefronts are becoming pretty dicey in the brave new world. Yes, there will still be restaurants and bars, and banks, and some services. But I'm frankly pretty pessimistic that a lot of the retail establishments that we love aren't going to be around much longer, because nobody actually buys stuff at them anymore.

And as downtown Minneapolis continues to prosper, it's going to make real estate more expensive and could paradoxically make it even more difficult for small retailers to survive.

And even restaurants and bars are getting much bigger than they used to be. Barrio is sort of the exception that proves the rule -- the fact that they went into a single storefront seemed like a novelty.

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby Tyler » December 8th, 2013, 2:50 pm

John wrote:Really? I've been in both cities on Sundays and the downtown retail areas were busy.
But those are not in the central business districts. Filmore street isn't in the financial district. Neither is Madison Ave. The shops on Broadway are in soho. The financial districts are dead. This is my point.
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min-chi-cbus
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby min-chi-cbus » December 8th, 2013, 8:40 pm

Is it "winning" to have your retail spread out evenly amongst your metro area or congregated in a giant mall? I think the MOA is cool, and has plenty to offer and intrigue. So does Portland and Seattle, but I'd venture to guess Portland or Seattle don't see as many tourists because of their retail as the Twin Cities do, so not all is lost, right?

Different strokes for different folks, and let's be us, but let's just be the best "us" we can.

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby shaqwn » December 15th, 2013, 1:00 pm

Union Square is smack dab in the center of San Francisco. It is the retail heart of the city. I'm sitting in a hotel room there right now. This area is jammed with people this weekend. The sidewalks were shoulder to shoulder with people yesterday Christmas shopping. I tried to get a reservation for dinner on opentable and 95% of the places within an easy walk were full. There were traffic jams of people coming in for Christmas in the city, to see the lights, go skating, look at the displays, see a show or have a celebratory drink in a lounge 30 stories up.

As others have said, what's happening in retail now is if you compete against Amazon, you are hurting. If you have the same products as Amazon and your consumers make their choices based on price, particularly hard-line goods or anything else with a uniform product code, it will be very tough for you to compete against Amazon's economies of scale and the cost advantages of their business model. Brick and mortar retailers, especially big box retailers, are heavily leveraged with thin profit margins and have physical costs that Amazon does not have. Amazon can now do to them what they did to all the mom and pops over several decades (or what the suburban mall did to Main Street).

Where the opportunity is for physical retail, and where the real opportunity is for Minneapolis, is for a different type of retailer. Big chains are unlikely to do well in a downtown location with an expensive lease, because they fit the description above. However, if you offer a differentiated product (long tail or vertically integrated), or you offer the consumer a better way of discovering what they want (the consumer that did not know when he began shopping that he was going to end up buying a cool pair of Campers shoes that day), or you offer a delightful shopping experience (great customer service or even a beautiful Christmas display) or you compete based on convenience (e.g., Target where the stuff I buy I want to use that day and not wait for shipping), you can do well. You aren't competing against Amazon.

The reason that tens of thousands of people are cramming into Union Square is because the experience of bringing your family into the city for Christmas shopping blows the experience of shopping on Amazon out of the water (in a way that bringing my family to yet another Best Buy does not).

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby Jfuss » December 15th, 2013, 1:53 pm

To go off of what shaqwn is talking about and reminisce about what downtown Minneapolis meant to my family many years ago.

I remember when I was young my family would all get in the car and drive downtown for some Christmas shopping. We would walk around Nicollet Avenue, Gaviidae Common, and Crystal Court. I don't know what stores were downtown when I was younger, but I remember it being a special treat for my parents to shop there.

We also would check out Macy's 8th Floor display. It was more enjoyable when the 8th floor display changed every year and there seemed to be anticipation and excitement built around revealing the different theme.

Then we would always end the day eating at the Nanking. The huge paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling is something I will always remember.

Sorry the childhood memories post. But I remember when downtown seemed to be a more special place. Or at least my parents made it out to be.

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby Didier » December 15th, 2013, 3:56 pm

I think most people would consider the Financial District of San Francisco to be the area of that city that Tyler is referring to. Also, San Francisco in general isn't even comparable to Minneapolis.

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby Didier » December 15th, 2013, 4:02 pm

Also, my memory of Union Square is that it was indeed a busy retail district, but that it was almost all chain clothes stores. Clothes will always require brick and mortar since most people prefer trying the clothes to saving a few dollars. Union Square has become a destination for this type of shopping in the same way Mall of America has.

skyrab

Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby skyrab » December 15th, 2013, 4:19 pm

Just curious if anyone of you know how much of the San Francisco-Union Square business is generated by the people who live in the vicinity vs. outside dollars spent there?

AccordGuy
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby AccordGuy » December 15th, 2013, 4:49 pm

Jfuss wrote:To go off of what shaqwn is talking about and reminisce about what downtown Minneapolis meant to my family many years ago.

I remember when I was young my family would all get in the car and drive downtown for some Christmas shopping. We would walk around Nicollet Avenue, Gaviidae Common, and Crystal Court. I don't know what stores were downtown when I was younger, but I remember it being a special treat for my parents to shop there.

We also would check out Macy's 8th Floor display. It was more enjoyable when the 8th floor display changed every year and there seemed to be anticipation and excitement built around revealing the different theme.

Then we would always end the day eating at the Nanking. The huge paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling is something I will always remember.

Sorry the childhood memories post. But I remember when downtown seemed to be a more special place. Or at least my parents made it out to be.
I agree. When I was a kid in Minneapolis, my family would go downtown at Christmastime for the 8th floor display as well as the window displays along Nicollet. Back then we had Dayton's, as well as Donaldson's, JC Penney, and Powers. Things just were not the same after they moved Donaldson's to the City Center and the other two stores closed. We need to make downtown a destination like no other around here. It's not special anymore because the powers that be in Mpls tried to compete with M.O.A and suburban malls by offering what they had.
More people moving in to the northern end of Nicollet will help tie it to the north loop neighborhood, this is where we should focus on adding retail and street level storefronts. The block across the street from the library would be a perfect place to add more condo's/apartment's and possibly office space if the market allows. This would be a good place for our new tallest building. Something like the multi purpose John Hancock building in Chicago would be nice.
Born in Minneapolis.

shaqwn
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby shaqwn » December 15th, 2013, 6:13 pm

Didier, Union Square is directly adjacent to the financial district to the east. To the south is the convention center, and to the west is mid-market, the hub of the technology industry. It is the generally considered the center of downtown. Tyler referred to Fillmore street, which is in residential Pacific Heights.

John
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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby John » December 15th, 2013, 6:44 pm

AccordGuy wrote: More people moving in to the northern end of Nicollet will help tie it to the north loop neighborhood, this is where we should focus on adding retail and street level storefronts. The block across the street from the library would be a perfect place to add more condo's/apartment's and possibly office space if the market allows. This would be a good place for our new tallest building. Something like the multi purpose John Hancock building in Chicago would be nice.
^^^I think you are referring to the Ritz block which would be ideal for a new retail complex with office/residential above. It would make a great connection to the nearby North Loop. Would allow for retail space to accommodate store layouts that can't happen on Nicollet Mall currently. A chance to create a very open design that's geared towards the pedestrian and reinforces Nicollet Mall as a pedestrian thoroughfare. This block is a golden opportunity just waiting to happen. :)

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Re: Downtown Retail News

Postby twinkess » January 13th, 2014, 10:04 am

Gaviidae Common put some of those statium wrap-around scoreboard lights up between the 1st and 2nd level by Caribou / Sakks. Looks interesting. Didn't think to get a picture till I was already past it.


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