Many of the areas that grrdanko mention are not high rent. Hennepin and the Mall, yes. But there are up and coming retail nodes that already have the better foot traffic than this section of Marquette. These stores are really isolated and have not got the retail type foot traffic that they need to prosper. I agree that some landlords leave spaces empty for either a possible better deal , that like you say, have not come along in how many years. Or as a tax write off, for under performing losses, or both.We have small store fronts. We have a shortage of affordable small store fronts. As I've said before, large-scale development management often see providing these as a necessary inconvenience rather than a component of a successful development. They'd rather hold out and have empty storefronts with a high asking lease than actually reduce the lease to get occupancy. Look how many storefronts downtown have been vacant for years or even decades, even on Nicollet Mall.
If landlords just sit with empty properties thinking that by some miracle they will get high rents when there is no critical mass to draw consumers to the area. Then they will eventually be bankrupt.