Kwik Trip plans 10th Duluth area location; Holiday Stationstores prepare


Just as Kwik Trip’s first area location opened about two weeks ago in Superior the company was quick to announce a 10th planned location in the area. Kwik Trip will be constructing a new store at the corner of North 6th Avenue E and East Fourth Street most likely during the second quarter of 2016. They’ll be taking over a prime corner site that currently is home to Last Chance Liquor who will close their store location in early 2016. That’s right across the street from a newly built SuperAmerica and the ever successful Whole Foods Coop.

The new location for Kwik Trip will mark their fourth planned location within the city of Duluth and their first near the downtown area. Another location was recently announced for the corner of Central Entrance and Arlington Avenue a mere mile and a half away and a fifth location is still rumored for London Road.

For Kwik Trip, proximity to other store locations isn’t the issue; capturing the customer is. That’s while you’ll see that the two locations in West Duluth area also are quite close to each other. It not only allows for a greater hold on the market, but also easier deliveries for Kwik Trip.

Area gas stations have began to prepare for the arrival of Kwik Trip early this summer and even as soon as last year. We’ve seen rebuilds like the SuperAmerica on the opposite corner of the newly proposed Kwik Trip on East Fourth Street or the Little Store in Proctor near Interstate 35.

Recently Holiday Stationstores also began to roll out renovations at a few of its stores including those on Central Avenue and 27th Avenue West which are closest to the new Kwik Trip locations. Those stations are receiving both exterior and interior updates. Holiday Stationstores has also begun to rollout a heavy advertising campaign in the area specifically targeting the in house selection of eggs, milk, and other baked goods offered within their stores. That marketing campaign is something that really is a direct result of Kwik Trip entering the market as they pride themselves on their low costs for fresh eggs, milk, and other goods within their stores.

The next Kwik Trip to open in the next month most likely will also be in Superior on Hwy 2 and will be closely followed by a location in Hermantown on Hwy 53 next door to Platinum Properties Sugar Maple Crossing commercial development. 

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Platinum Plaza project postponed


Recently we discussed with Stevie Paulson of Platinum Properties about their planned retail center, Platinum Plaza, that he and his company are developing across from the Miller Hill Mall. There were a few potential leases a few months ago regarding the project, however the perfect mix of retail tenants for the development is still being created.

With that being said construction of Platinum Plaza has been put on the back burner until further notice. It was made very clear though that the question is not if the project will happen but more so when. If you think about it when you’re investing millions into a project it’s most likely the best idea to be safe than sorry in making sure that all your space can be filled and filled with tenants that are right for the surrounding community.

Taking a look at the national trends for retail development across the country, Duluthians have nothing to be concerned about regarding the future of Platinum Plaza… or retail development in Duluth for that matter. Building “spec” buildings (meaning without any pre-signed occupants) can be a huge gamble. After the recession a few years ago building spec is almost unheard of in the development world as retail centers like to have a certain percent of retail space committed to, usually around 30-40%, before construction of the physical building begins.

Platinum Properties is still busy with development as they are moving forward with their second retail phase of Sugar Maple Crossings in Hermantown with construction expected to start immediately. We’ll have a few tenants to announce early next week regarding that project.

Once the additional phase of development at Sugar Maple Crossings has been completed by next spring plans for Platinum Plaza will be revisited with construction possibly beginning as soon as next year. The tenant mix for Platinum Plaza is still expected to feature a mix of fast casual restaurants, a dessert eatery of some sort, and a possible jeweler and or salon among other retailers. Make sure to check back right here at CDINDULUTH for more details. 

PROJECT UPDATE: CVS Pharmacy East Duluth


Curious as to how construction progress is going at the new CVS Pharmacy being constructed on Superior Street in East Duluth. We’ll give you a little update right now then!

Construction has been a long one coming for this project. Originally it was suppose to be the first location to open in Duluth and was scheduled to open last year. Unfortunately due to set backs with remaining tenants in the former portion of the Plaza strip center that remained on the site construction could not begin as soon as originally planned. With that set back the Grand Avenue location was able to move forward with construction and it soon became the first location to open in Duluth closely following the first location to open in the Twin Ports in Superior.

With the last of tenants moving out earlier this year from the Plaza Center retail building construction was able to begin in late winter. Quickly after we soon began to see cinder block walls starting to go up in late May, roofing in June,  and now we are beginning to see a finished building. The original opening date of August 31st however has been pushed back now to early October. 

We’re actually pretty curious to the set up of this building compared to most CVS Pharmacy new construction projects. The building is situated almost directly centered when it comes to the site orientation. The entrance is located on the side fronting Walgreens (how convenient) along with a good amount of parking. Parking also stretches alongside the building running against Superior Street and there also appears to be some parking in the back near the drive thru. 

So there is our little update for you on the new CVS Pharmacy opening in East Duluth. 

Oh. Below are also some visual confirmations of what we just described above because after all you probably want to see the progress. Enjoy. 

Kwik Trip officially enters the Duluth market


Northland, get ready to meet your new local convenience store and gas station. Say hello to Kwik Trip.

The doors to the first Kwik Trip location in the Twin Ports opened today at 2807 Tower Avenue at 5am. While this is the first location for Kwik Trip in the area it for sure won’t be their last. In fact it’s actually just the first opening of nine Kwik Trip locations that are currently planned for the area. Let us not forget that the company recently announced a few months ago that plans for the area now could include up to 15 locations.

With the opening of this first Kwik Trip location we thought to ourselves “how are the other ones doing?” There’s just so many of them to keep track of… and they are all spread literally EVERYWHERE. Well, don’t worry. We’ve done the dirty work and checked up on how construction is going at ALL the planned locations and we’ve included the update in this post purely for your convenience…so check out the progress below.

2801 Tower Avenue (Superior)- Now Open

Highway 53 (Superior) – Opening September 2014

Belknap Ave & Banks St (Superior) – Opening Late Sept./Early Oct. 2014

Highway 45 (Scanlon) – Opening October 2014

Grand Avenue (Duluth) – Opening Late September/Early October 2014

Michigan Avenue (Duluth) – October 2014

Central Ent. and Arlington Ave (Duluth) – Construction Has Yet To Begin

Highway 53 (Hermantown) – Opening September 2014

Highway 53 & Arrowhead Rd. (Hermantown) – Construction Has Yet To Begin

Sugar Maple Crossing to proceed with Phase II


We reported a few months back that Platinum Properties was planning an additional retail phase for their Sugar Maple Crossing development; a retail center in Hermantown at the intersection of Highway 53 and Sugar Maple Drive. We’ve recently received more details on what is to be included with the additional phase and what exactly the future of Sugar Maple Crossing entails.

Phase II of the development is about two weeks away from breaking ground. This next phase of Sugar Maple Crossing will include 5,000 square feet of new retail space and will house two national tenants that are new to Hermantown. We’ll have an exciting announcement regarding names those retailers next week. 

There also will be a third and final phase to the Sugar Maple Crossing development that could begin construction as soon as next spring. That portion of the development will include an additional 11,000 square feet of office space in which 40 employees will work. A lease for a tenant that will occur that office space is already in the works. The office component will also be flanked by an additional 3,000 square foot connected retail building, making the entire phase three portion of development approximately 14,000 square feet.

Whole Foods Co-op presents official plans for Denfeld location


West Duluth is about to get their first true organic grocery store and let’s be honest… it’s about time.

Whole Foods Co-op announced plans for a second Duluth location this past year on a site along Grand Avenue that really hasn’t had much attention paid to it in the last decade. Well, that is until a new CVS Pharmacy and retail center were constructed next to it this past year. It’s all part of a larger redevelopment of a nearly block long site that began almost a decade ago with construction of ACME Tools new store. Since then we have seen the construction of CVS Pharmacy and a small retail center on site, while work is expected to begin on a new Subway location later this month.

The new location will be located at 4426 Grand Avenue and will be in a 14,000 square foot brick clad building custom built for Whole Foods Co-op. The building will be constructed on the back of the site and will have an angular site plan which will help alleviate some of the “blockading” happening on Grand Avenue. The construction of the store will also include the redevelopment of the current Jefferson Lines bus station which will become parking and a new entrance for the store. One of the nicest things about the West Duluth location is that it will feature ample parking, 70 spaces in all. 

Parking might not seem like the biggest worry because after all it is just a grocery store. But if you’re familiar with Whole Foods Co-op, then you know it’s not just a regular grocery store. If you’ve been to the Hillside location then you know that in previous years a vacant parking spot could be a as hard to find as a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. In fact, parking was so bad that the co-op ended up purchasing the former MCCU branch building next door and tore it down in order to make room for new parking. People just can’t get enough of Whole Foods Co-op.

The plans for the new Denfeld store will go before the Duluth Planning Commission tomorrow night during their monthly meeting. There are expected to be no issues and construction could start as soon as this fall with an opening sometime in late spring or early summer.

Our View

We’re really excited to finally see the design for this new location. It’s a modern building that seems to have adequately addressed the challenges of typical grocery store construction, or for any matter, big box retail construction. What we mean is that there is actually going to be a lot of light within this store. That is probably one of the most exciting things about the design besides the large use of brick. The sheer amount of windows included in the project is absolutely fantastic. It’s not just about letting light into the store, but it’s also about making the store feel more welcoming to the surrounding community. Windows are a glimpse into the soul of the building… a.k.a all those delicious organic products held within.

New 80 room Holiday Inn Express to begin construction soon


Construction will start later this month on a new five story, 80 room Holiday Inn Express and Suites hotel in Hermantown. The hotel will be located on the site of the former Eggebrecht Chevrolet Dealership and will spearhead the redevelopment of a large corner site including land where the former Cinema 8 theater was.

The former Eggebrecht dealership will be torn down along with the last remaining portion of the Cinema 8 structure that was saved due to its potential reuse someday. When those buildings have been demolished work to clean up the site will begin. The city of Hermantown will then also begin  construction of two new roadways that will lead into the site. One with access from Mall Drive, while the other will be constructed off of Haines Road.

Mark Labovitz of Express Investors of Duluth, LLC is the man responsible for the development occurring on a 2.9 acre portion of the site that will house the second Holiday Inn Express hotel in the area (the first is in Superior). He is also the man who is also responsible for the 338 room Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Downtown Duluth. So needless to say… he knows the brand and knows what he is doing. 

The hotel will feature a very modern design with quality materials used for construction. The exterior of the building features elements of the most current Holiday Inn Express prototype and makes use of materials such as stucco, stone and metal accents.  The hotel will also provide continental breakfast and will include a pool.

The developers of the project will provide 123 parking spaces,  more than the required amount of one parking spot per room and employee. Quite a bit of landscaping for the site is planned including over 50 trees and 250 shrubs which will transform the site dramatically from what it has been for over the last ten years. 

Construction should begin by the end of the month with a completion expected by next summer. 

Dunkin’ Donuts plans first Duluth location near Miller Hill Mall; Superior location planned as well


You probably heard all about it yesterday as it seemed to sweep the news by storm. Literally. From the Duluth News Tribune to the local news stations such as WDIO and Fox 21, even to the Wall Street Journal, just about everyone seemed to be going insane with excitement over the announcement that America’s favorite coffee and baked goods shop has solidified plans for seven new Duluth area locations. We don’t blame everyone over the excitement. After all, America runs on Dunkin’.  

What began a small donut shop in Canton, Massachusetts in 1950, has grown to an iconic international brand with over 11,000 locations in 33 countries. Such an iconic brand would without a doubt have a large presence in Minnesota then, right? Well, no, not at all actually. In fact, the first Dunkin’ Donuts location in Minnesota opened last month in the Kahler Hotel in Downtown Rochester. While the company did have locations in Minnesota in the past, the final one closed in the early 2000’s in Austin, Minnesota.

This time around the company is planning an aggressive expansion within the state of Minnesota. The first major expansion of stores within the state is expected to occur right here in the Duluth area.

The first location, which will open this Spring in a remodeled space near the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth, will mark the first opening of SEVEN planned locations in the Duluth area. When we say the Duluth area…we don’t mean that ALL seven will be within the Duluth city limits, at least not the first seven. 

Brian and Sharon Weidendorf will be the local franchise holders. They’re based out of Hinckley, Minnesota and are no new comers to the restaurant industry. The couple has over 30 years of experience in the real estate development industry and is in fact currently developing a new McDonald’s restaurant in Moose Lake. Joining Brian and Sharon Weidendorf will be Pat Messina, another knowledge filled individual who will manage the daily operations of each Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant.

Now on to the specifics.

The first location as mentioned above will open this coming Spring in Duluth. Various sources have stated that the location will be near the Miller Hill Mall in a remodeled space. We’ve of course begun to make a mental list of where this could specifically be. One logical choice could be the former Dairy Queen building on Central Entrance which would require extensive renovations. There also are potential spaces within various retail strip centers in the Miller Hill Mall area. New Dunkin’ Donuts locations tend to be in newly constructed freestanding buildings, however those that are not tend to be placed on end caps of retail centers in order to have access for a drive thru. We’re currently working on narrowing down the potential spaces  and hope to be able to announce a specific location within the very near future.

Duluth however won’t be the only one place getting a bit of Dunkin’ Donuts love. Three additional cities have been identified as future homes for Dunkin’ Donuts locations. Those cities being Brainerd, Hibbing, and a location on Tower Avenue in Superior. Which means there will be Dunkin’ Donuts on both sides of the Twin Ports. No need to fight over those delicious donuts and freshly brewed coffee. Let’s be civil.

With the above being stated that still leaves us wondering where the other three potential locations could be. There’s the obvious East and West Duluth areas that both could support a location along with the Cloquet area. There’s also the greater Iron Range area too.

Regardless, news will break in the coming months on the specifics of these seven planned locations. Until then we can only really have sweet dreams of the freshly brewed coffee and delicious donuts that will soon be served from our local Dunkin’ Donuts. With this opening in the spring we will officially be marking the end of all our struggles trying to get those donuts through the TSA on our way home from our Chicago business trips. So in advance, thank you Dunkin’ Donuts.

Check back right here at CDINDULUTH for more details soon! 

Endion Station Public House opens in iconic Canal Park building


Canal Park is welcoming yet another new delicious restaurant into its unique community today with the opening of Endion Station Public House at 3pm.

The location within a little building nestled near the bustling freeway yet ideally situated directly next to the Lakewalk, is probably within the building you’ve walked past and looked at many times, admiring its architecture but never taking the time to investigate what exactly lies within. There sits the iconic Endion Station.

The train station was the first train stop outside the city of Duluth when the Duluth and Iron Range Railroad built their train route from Duluth to Two Harbors.  Named after a small community on the outskirts of Duluth named Endion, the station has been standing for over 100 years. You might wonder why you’ve never heard of this Endion community. The reason is that soon after the station’s construction due to the rapid growth of Duluth the community of Endion was absorbed into the city limits of Duluth, thus removing from the maps the place of inspiration for the station and it’s name. 

Constructed in 1899, the station does not in fact currently sit in it’s original South Street and 15th Avenue East location. It was saved and ultimately moved to its current location in 1985 when the expansion of Interstate 35 occurred within Duluth. The physical building is significant as it is one of the last small train passenger depots in the country and also due to it’s architectural style of Richardsonian Romanesque.

For close to 40 years Endion Station has sat at it’s current location holding various local businesses through out the years, yet nothing that really drew the community into the historic building…That is until today.

Endion Station Public House, a new restaurant from the owners of longtime Duluth favorite, Fitger’s Brewhouse, and a relatively new Duluth favorite, Tycoon’s Alehouse, will officially open its doors today to the general public.  Serving “craft beer and boardwalk food” along with being billed as a “cider house” the restaurant is sure to not disappoint the locals or the tourists the flock to Canal Park each year. 

The restaurant will be open this weekend (7/25-7/27) beginning at 3pm and will offer samples of food and drinks for the public to try along with having The Current 89.3 broadcasting live from their deck today (7/25).  

Endion Station Public House will begin their full business hours on Monday, July 28th along with offering their full food and drink menu. The restaurant will be open daily from 11am-11pm while their bar will be open from 11am to 1am. For more information visit Endion Station Public House’s website here.

Hampton Inn and Suites proposes new site near Miller Hill Mall


A few years ago a Hampton Inn and Suites, the second for the city of Duluth, was proposed to be constructed on the corner of Joshua Avenue and Maple Grove Road behind the Stone Ridge Shopping Center. The plan for that hotel development did not end up receiving a rezoning approval from the city planning commission as there were great concerns by the neighbors regarding creation traffic and various lighting impacts. Apparently Hampton Inn and Suites must really want a location in the Miller Hill Mall area because they’re back at it again and this time around we think it’s better than the first.

Hampton Inn and Suites is proposing a 4 story hotel to be constructed in Duluth Hill, a retail development that has been planned for many years that currently only includes Texas Roadhouse. Yes, we talking about that great site that is perched a top a little hill across from The Home Depot. It’s arguably one of the better commercial sites in the Miller Hill area.

The new hotel will feature 91 rooms and a pool and is being developed by TKO Hotels out of Aberdeen, South Dakota. It is the second proposed Hampton Inn and Suites hotel in the area as one was proposed last month in Superior, therefore bringing to the possible total count of this single hotel brand up to three in the Twin Ports area. If all goes according to plan, construction could begin before the end of summer.

OUR VIEW

We do have to say that we are pretty excited about this one. We think it’s a great alternative to the first proposal while keeping the desire for another Hampton Inn and Suites something that actually can come to fruition. The new site for the hotel makes much better use of vacant commercial land. The Duluth Hill development was originally to include a freestanding fast casual restaurant along with a retail strip center and two big box stores. However, those plans never became a reality when the downturn in the economy occurred. We actually were just thinking last week what was going to happen to this site now that there is such an influx in commercial development within Duluth. Well, now we know.