Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

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Anondson
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Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Anondson » October 22nd, 2020, 2:10 pm

Really am kinda shocked. I would think at least an Apple Store would survive in Uptown. How are they doing at the 'Dales?.
It struggled to reach even half to 2/3 the traffic. Pay parking was the loudest complaint. Plus, there honestly weren’t enough people who lived near Hennepin and Lake, and transit was not enough either. There was not enough of a midday workforce in uptown for lunch drop ins.

If you’re in South/Southwest Minneapolis and already have to get in a car, go to Southdale or MOA. If you’re downtown or Dinkytown, Rosedale is not too far away.

Now, a downtown store, on high frequency rail and bus lines, huge workforce. Multiple high income demographic neighborhoods. It stands a chance.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Austinite » October 22nd, 2020, 2:51 pm

I know that Apple might be considered a "luxury" store, but in some ways I think it straddled the line between luxury and actual, useful retail!

Sure, you probably aren't going to an Apple store on a fairly regular basis. But I know I found it handy for the times I had an issue with my MacBook or iPhone - I live fairly close, I could pretty much always make a same-day appointment to get whatever I needed fixed or replaced. And, yes, a few times I actually bought hardware there. Now those types of visits will require driving out to one of the Dales. Not exactly a huge deal, but I'll miss the convenience of the neighborhood.

Related, but also a bit of an aside: This whole stretch of Hennepin has so much potential, but, wow, it feels bleak these days. Still stuff boarded up, plenty closed or vacant. And, of course, there's always at least one car parked in the bike lane and another idling in front of Amazing Thailand.
Really not supportive of taller buildings in Uptown. The 15 story tower proposed is terrible. The city keeps saying it supports businesses, but then does projects like the Hennepin redo that does away with parking. I really do believe that decision has hurt the stores along that stretch of Hennepin. Really don't get it. The city needs to step up and change it's laws to make opening businesses in the city easier along with offering incentives -lower property taxes, etc. Especially NOW. I think until the fear of more civil unrest goes away - businesses in Mpls will be hesitant to remove the boards protecting their buildings. If you read up on Chicago - same thing is happening there - i.e. Magnificent Mile.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby uptownbro » October 22nd, 2020, 2:53 pm

I do think retail is just changing in uptown and many of the landlords need to understand this or else it will kill the area. The old lamp store off lake st was leased up in a few months after closing. It is now three smaller shops vs the victoria secrets that has been empty for what 3 years now? H@M and target do very well in uptown due to being cheap but "nice". I also think the boards need to come down as it makes some people thing the area is unsafe. It has really helped and Lyndale to have most of them down imo. Uptown doesnt have a parking issue it has a parking price issue and as much as I support bike lanes this one really seems to have hurt the area as some of the people in the retail and bar industry in uptown were already talking 18 months ago about how it killed traffic.
Hope the new mall owner understands this trend.
Last edited by uptownbro on October 22nd, 2020, 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Austinite » October 22nd, 2020, 2:56 pm

I do think retail is just changing in uptown and many of the landlords need to understand this or else it will kill the area. The old lamp store off lake st was leased up in a few months after closing. It is now three smaller shops vs the victoria secrets that has been empty for what 3 years now? H@M and target do very well in uptown due to being cheap but "nice". I also think the boards need to come down as it makes some people thing the area is unsafe.
Hope the new mall owner understands this trend.
At least they are reopening the corner entrance off Hennepin and Lake!

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby uptownbro » October 22nd, 2020, 2:58 pm

I know! Honestly ackerberg killed lake and henn and no one will change my mind on that.
I also dont mind the taller building. At this point it is what it is and filling that lot will help bring more people to the area.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Tiller » October 22nd, 2020, 5:00 pm

Uptown has the B and E lines coming along, and SWLRT nearby (via the B line). Things will be fine. The tall buildings are also good/needed. More transit and density will help retail in uptown.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Austinite » October 22nd, 2020, 9:32 pm

Uptown has the B and E lines coming along, and SWLRT nearby (via the B line). Things will be fine. The tall buildings are also good/needed. More transit and density will help retail in uptown.
Sorry but that argument keeps being made. Build it and they will come. With all the new apartments/condos already built in Uptown - hasn't proven true in terms of retail/restaurants being supported, even before the economic downturn and pandemic, civil unrest. Uptown is also already heavily trafficked and served by multiple bus routes. The Lake/Hennepin intersection is one of the busiest in the metro in terms of car/foot traffic. It's lost many of the businesses that made Uptown what it was, and the new businesses haven't maintained a loyal following to support them. Not even the non-chain restaurants.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Mdcastle » October 23rd, 2020, 8:21 am

No surprises that the mall stores are doing a lot better. Nothing produces regional retail activity like easy freeway access and easy, free, and abundant parking. I can at least understand the though process in putting all these regional stores in Uptown in the first place- if suburbanites are willing to put up with driving there or taking a bus to get to Famous Dave's, maybe they will to get to Gap or Columbia too. But that started 20 years ago before Amazon was a thing and Uptown was a lot less congested. And before anyone quotes that idiotic Yogi Berra line, the people going there now (at least during shopping hours) are locals with the increased housing density in the area. But there aren't and never will be enough people in the neighborhood to support walk-up, so the retail needs to shift to focus on the local residents wanting a hot dog, not someone in Eagan wanting a North Face jacket.


Now of course you have the pandemic and the perception that the entire city is unsafe due to the rioting and the general crime wave this summer. It used to be the perception that just don't try to buy narcotics on the north side or hang around bar closing on Hennepin and you'll be fine, but now there's carjackings and robberies and other incidents in Uptown and downtown outside the bar district making the papers.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Anondson » October 23rd, 2020, 8:49 am

... and Uptown was a lot less congested.
Just to note, traffic has fairly well plummeted over 15 years and MNDOT data shows it. In 2005 Lake going east towards Hennepin carried 20,300, in 2019 it carried 15,400, almost a 25% drop.

Lake just west of Lyndale carried 23,000 in 2005 and 20,300 in 2019.

Hennepin north of Lake carried 26,000 in 2005 and 24,300 in 2019, slightly dipping but that cannot be “more congested”.

It’s a lot less congested today than our memories think, even after adding thousands of units of housing.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby uptownbro » October 23rd, 2020, 9:12 am

I think it really depends on the retail itself. I only went to the Columbia store when it was having its closing sale. I think the area can support one maybe two regional stores. I think the H@M does fine as it fits what the residents want. Cheap cloths.
I do think that many people do view the city as less safe after this summer and that will be a struggle moving forward.
I do wonder if these things are being reported more now just due to the lack of news that isnt about covid or trump.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby VacantLuxuries » October 23rd, 2020, 10:02 am

Uptown isn't as much of a destination anymore, and that's fine. So long as the property owners shift their focus from catering to people seeking a destination retail experience to one that caters to the residents of the surrounding neighborhoods.

In this scenario, a new 15 story apartment building is a great thing. 15 stories of new customers for the Target, surrounding bars and restaurants, and hopefully the entertainment provided by the new Granada venue.

The idea that a neighborhood in a city is a failure because someone in Bloomington doesn't have easy access to stores identical to suburban offerings is silly. This corner has been a failure of the 'turn everything into a mall' era of planning that gets complained about when talking about West End or Gaviidae Common, and the pandemic is making it impossible for the few businesses that were struggling along to maintain that style of retail to keep the act up.

This is a good thing long term for Uptown, so long as the property owners either get with the program or sell to someone with vision.

As for crime, that's a perception certain suburbanites have always held. They always will hold. Meanwhile, apartments keep getting leased and towers keep going up. Somehow, the city keeps growing despite the pearl clutching and hand wringing of people who don't live there.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Tcmetro » October 23rd, 2020, 11:31 am

It feels that the retail developments on Hennepin and Lake and the last redevelopment of Calhoun Square were aimed at trying to imitate and compete with 50th and France. Which is quite difficult given that even though that area is a lot less dense is more uniformly wealthy.

Additionally, the City of Edina can put significant focus on the 50th and France area, whereas it's a lot more difficult for Minneapolis to pump money into Uptown when other neighborhoods have needs. 50th and France has a much more mall like experience, with multiple parking ramps and city coordinated redevelopments.

Was Uptown a retail destination pre-2000? I lived on the southside (Phillips) in the late 90s, but was quite young and don't remember much about the business mix. I remember that Chino Latino, McDonald's, and Victoria Secret were there at the time.

In any case, my perception is that perhaps the demographics were overestimated, big names and chains were overemphasized, other areas rose in competition, and online retail have led to the decline in commercial uses in Uptown.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby josephmck » October 23rd, 2020, 1:24 pm

Was Uptown a retail destination pre-2000? I lived on the southside (Phillips) in the late 90s, but was quite young and don't remember much about the business mix. I remember that Chino Latino, McDonald's, and Victoria Secret were there at the time.

In any case, my perception is that perhaps the demographics were overestimated, big names and chains were overemphasized, other areas rose in competition, and online retail have led to the decline in commercial uses in Uptown.
Yes, it was a big destination! I operated stores in Calhoun Square and Uptown from late-80's into early 2004. It was "the place" for several years, but when it changed it changed hard. Increased competition--especially MOA opening--had an enormous impact, as did online shopping. (In the early 90's Sales figures for Saturdays were what I subsequently brought in for an entire week.) I remember going to merchant meetings where Ray Harris or Martha Head were talking about the latest and greatest new tenant that was going to change everything. CS and Uptown have been alternately thriving or in decline for as long as I can remember; there was no specific and lasting period of glory days.
It sounds funny, but consumers wanted independent and funky until they didn't and then that changed; none of the previous iterations were wrong---just not right for the present.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby QuietBlue » October 23rd, 2020, 3:15 pm

It sounds funny, but consumers wanted independent and funky until they didn't and then that changed; none of the previous iterations were wrong---just not right for the present.
Yeah. I'm not going to get into the whole "Uptown sucks now" argument, because that's subjective based on what people like. However, it's certainly true that the character of it, and the types of businesses there, have changed over the years. The funky/bohemian and independent places were reasons for someone who didn't live there to go there. But if I want mall stores, I'll go to a mall.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Austinite » October 23rd, 2020, 5:32 pm

It feels that the retail developments on Hennepin and Lake and the last redevelopment of Calhoun Square were aimed at trying to imitate and compete with 50th and France. Which is quite difficult given that even though that area is a lot less dense is more uniformly wealthy.

Additionally, the City of Edina can put significant focus on the 50th and France area, whereas it's a lot more difficult for Minneapolis to pump money into Uptown when other neighborhoods have needs. 50th and France has a much more mall like experience, with multiple parking ramps and city coordinated redevelopments.

Was Uptown a retail destination pre-2000? I lived on the southside (Phillips) in the late 90s, but was quite young and don't remember much about the business mix. I remember that Chino Latino, McDonald's, and Victoria Secret were there at the time.

In any case, my perception is that perhaps the demographics were overestimated, big names and chains were overemphasized, other areas rose in competition, and online retail have led to the decline in commercial uses in Uptown.
Exactly. Well said. However, 50th & France also is going through a change. Several of it's long-term, independent shops have closed.

In Austin, TX, which has a much larger population than Mpls and where things are spread out more - I really love how chains have not moved into downtown and the neighborhoods for the most part. Still heavily independent, or very unique "chains' that have limited locations. I remain surprised though that despite the larger population and dare I say more people with higher incomes, there are relatively fewer regional malls compared to MN. I think with the Twin Cities - it perhaps has overdeveloped or has too many malls/retail centers that are close together and compete against each other for tenants. And then of course you have the MOA.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby alexschief » October 23rd, 2020, 7:51 pm

Austin may have a larger and wealthier population than Minneapolis within the city limits, but those are arbitrary boundaries. If we're talking about regional retail, it makes much more sense to compare metropolitan areas. On that score, Austin is much smaller and meaningfully less wealthy. The MSP Metro has a population of 3,640,000 and a median household income of $83,700. The Austin Metro has a population of 2,058,350 and a median household income of $73,200.

Anyway, Uptown is transitioning from one type of retail to another. Landlords will have to reduce their stupidly high rents, and that realization process will take a bit of time and be a bit of an adjustment. But nobody can doubt the investment that is going into the area. Retail is constantly changing, and Uptown has the one thing that is most needed to survive in any climate: customers nearby. Some suburban malls are partially realizing this (and partially realizing that their parking lots don't make them any money) and are building housing on their property. Uptown doesn't need to do that.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby thatchio » October 24th, 2020, 10:27 am


Yes, it was a big destination! I operated stores in Calhoun Square and Uptown from late-80's into early 2004. It was "the place" for several years, but when it changed it changed hard. Increased competition--especially MOA opening--had an enormous impact, as did online shopping. (In the early 90's Sales figures for Saturdays were what I subsequently brought in for an entire week.) I remember going to merchant meetings where Ray Harris or Martha Head were talking about the latest and greatest new tenant that was going to change everything. CS and Uptown have been alternately thriving or in decline for as long as I can remember; there was no specific and lasting period of glory days.
It sounds funny, but consumers wanted independent and funky until they didn't and then that changed; none of the previous iterations were wrong---just not right for the present.
I agree with this. I worked retail in CSQ in the late 90s/early 2000s. We used to have people come into the store and buy while they waited for a table at Figlios or Famous Daves. Also, Borders and Starbucks drove a lot of business on the southwest side of the mall. I recall as a kid going to CSQ and watching the NE part and second floor start to lose tenants as foot traffic seemingly dropped over time. Hallmark and the USPS station, the fossil place and toy store on the second floor NW corner. In talking with several store owners in the mid-2000s about the changes, they chalked it up to consumers changing preferences, macro economic/tax conditions that made it hard being independent businesses, and Uptown being less hip than it had been.

More recently, the city expanded liquor licenses and reduced auto parking requirements for restaurants outside of major activity nodes. While I think that is good policy, the result was that smaller restaurateurs could open for far less cost and risk in small business nodes across Minneapolis, whether 56th & Xerxes, 46th & Grand, etc. The best restaurants were located in neighborhood nodes with free parking. Additionally, there seemed to be a surge in bars, as I understand it, serving people who wanted a bar experience without having to go to Downtown and have to deal with the craziness of bar close. Those places paid more in rent than retail, and you saw a bunch of places open. At the time the chains were starting to come in more (keep in mind there had already been an Express, Gap, Borders, and Starbucks), and they seemed to be the only retail that could pay the rents landlords looked for. There actually are a lot of different landlords in Uptown, and unfortunately one particular landlord who owns the old Gap, went for Victoria's Secret, which was a real blow. The rest of what was going on was an attempt by various actors trying to figure out how to stabilize what had been a big retail tumble in Uptown. We can complain about how expensive rent is, but when you have bars willing to pay it and a regulatory environment that sort of allows it, the choices are a bit stark. When Zeno left and that burrito place, there had been an exclusive bar concept looking to open in some of the space that was to only be open 8pm-2am Wed-Sat. That was a bit concerning to a lot of the retailers and non-bars I spoke to, as it meant there would be a dark storefront for all the hours the other businesses were open and a view that a business like that added nothing to Uptown being a community hub.

An upside is that the last couple of years have been hard on Uptown and between Covid and the recent sale of CSQ, maybe rental rates will reset enough to allow retail to focus on those in the community and not trying to woo in people from outside of Uptown (like SW Minneapolis, let alone places further)

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby grrdanko » October 25th, 2020, 12:43 pm

I though this was interesting.

https://youtu.be/849EsNX0t0I

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby Tcmetro » October 25th, 2020, 5:21 pm

I think the boarded up stores doesn't really tell a good story about what's happening in Uptown. Here in Chicago, Michigan Ave was boarded up for months, and it was surreal to see lines of tourists (another issue in its own right) waiting to get into stores you couldn't even see into.

As I understand it, other cities like New York were also heavily boarded up and I'd imagine retail is doing fine with all the people traveling because flights and hotels are as cheap as they've ever been.

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Re: Uptown Retail & Restaurant News

Postby grrdanko » October 25th, 2020, 6:05 pm

I agree that it doesn't tell the whole story. I thought it was interesting to see an outsider's non-informed perspective.


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