The family that owns the Victoria’s Secret building has decided that after 10 years, it’s time for something new.
“We’re interested in providing that corner with the best tenant we possibly can get. Something appreciated by everyone,” said owner Ruth Weisberg.
So far they’re seeing interest from retailers, the service industry and a brewery, she said.
Uptown retail has experienced some churn in recent months. Signs at Calhoun Square announce that Sephora is coming this spring to the space between Timberland and Arc’teryx, formerly an AT&T store.
Goorin Bros. hat shop closed at 2906 Hennepin Ave.; the property owner reports lots of interest and hopes to lease the space soon.
Francesca’s Collections at Calhoun Square has closed. The company’s CEO said holiday sales were disappointing, and said they would take steps to close stores in some malls and open new stores elsewhere, aiming to operate in the most “relevant” locations.
Weisberg said she’s optimistic about Uptown’s retail health. She said H&M and The North Face always seem to be busy, new residents are moving into the neighborhood, and the MoZaic buildings are bringing more office workers.
MoZaic East is under construction at 2900 Fremont Ave. S., with a target opening date in late 2018. The New York-based co-working company WeWork signed the building’s first lease for 46,000 square feet of space.
Weisberg said she loves the look of Fig + Farro, now open at Calhoun Square.
“That’s the kind of thing we need in Uptown,” she said. “If we’re going to put something in there, we need something to be unique.”
Perkins + Will conducted a case study of Uptown retail in 2016 as part of a commercial market study for the City of Minneapolis. The report said Uptown enjoys the highest population density among all the city’s trade areas, with 12,000 people per square mile and most residents within walking distance of retail. The study said Uptown’s weaknesses include a lack of small tenant spaces, high rents that put independent retailers at risk (asking rents are $2 more than the citywide average), and areas that aren’t pedestrian-friendly.
Weisberg said the Hennepin Avenue property has been in her father-in-law’s family for 50 years, and her husband once operated Fashion Corner there.
According to the book Uptown Minneapolis by Thatcher Imboden and Cedar Imboden Phillips, the original building was constructed in 1910, and tenants included a Ligget’s drugstore in the 20s, a Hallmark shop and the Sample Hut in the 70s, Fashion Corner beginning in 1977, a Stars Unlimited novelty shop in the 80s, and Black’s Photo Store in the early 90s. A fire destroyed the building in 1991, and the new building on the corner housed the Gap and later Victoria’s Secret.
“It’s always been the corner that has been called out,” Weisberg said. “I want to make it as significant as it really is.”