Victoria’s Secret coming to Uptown

A sexy new tenant will take over the former Gap space at Hennepin and Lake this August.

Victoria’s Secret will begin a multimillion-dollar revamp of the 3000 Hennepin Ave. S. property later this summer and plans to open by February. It will be the only non-mall Victoria’s Secret in the state and one of a few in the country designed to test a store concept based on the underwear mogul’s Pink sub-brand.

Shoppers can expect the store’s usual bras, panties, cosmetics, and perfume to be accompanied by loungewear, sleepwear, and other garments within a space that incorporates pink walls, dressing rooms, and furniture, according to a description of the Pink concept on wikipedia.org. Other Pink stores are located in San Francisco, Detroit and Birmingham, Ala.

The Uptown store will occupy a space that has been vacant since the Gap left late last year after slumping sales nationwide. Some Uptown residents and business owners have been skeptical about the eclectic area’s ability to support retail chains, but Ruth Weisberg, who owns the former Gap building with husband Morton, said Victoria’s Secret would fill an empty niche.   

“We have nothing like that in Uptown,” she said. “They’re going to do some really beautiful things there, and I think we’ll all be proud to have them.”

The Weisbergs’ leasing agent, Jeff Herman, president of Southwest-based Urban Anthology, said the Victoria’s Secret would work well with the area’s many salons and other beauty businesses. Customers in Uptown for a high-buck haircut might like to peruse Victoria’s secret afterward, he said.

Casey Stufen, a stylist at Jon English Salon, which is a short walk down Lake Street from where the new store will be, said her clients often shop in the area after getting their hair done. Stufen, 20, said the Victoria’s Secret would definitely become a stop for them and for her as well.

But not all Uptown shoppers think alike. Uptown area resident Rachel Sullivan, 22, who was shopping with friend Thea Holmberg, 23, near Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street on a recent Friday, wasn’t excited about a Victoria’s Secret coming to the area.  

“I realized as the Gap was going out that if I want those kinds of stores, I go to the Mall of America or something,” she said.  “I usually come here for the bars and the fun night life and stuff, or the specialized stores like Kitchen Window.”  

Uptown Association member and area resident Thatcher Imboden said the Victoria’s Secret would be a better fit for the community than the Gap was and he thinks it will be used.

“Everybody needs underwear,” he said.

Imboden said the store’s traffic should help boost business throughout Uptown.  

Weisberg and Herman said the 15,600-square-foot, two-story Uptown Victoria’s Secret would be unlike mall stores and more comparable to free-standing stores in Manhattan and Chicago. Both the interior and exterior of the building, built specifically for the Gap roughly 15 years ago, will be reworked.  

Weisberg got in touch with Victoria’s Secret about a year ago when she found out the Gap would be leaving. Herman closed the deal after talking with numerous interested parties including restaurants and other retail businesses.  

“We’re fortunate to have a retailer that knows urban retail like Victoria’s Secret,” he said.

Reach Jake Weyer at 436-4367 or weyer@mnpubs.com.