Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New strip malls

I was excited to see the article in Saturday's business section of the Herald about three new strip malls that will soon be coming to Grand Forks. Interestingly, the three malls are all being developed by the same developer - Dakota Commercial & Development - and will all open this fall.

University Village strip mall (or "Service Village II", but that's an ugly name if you ask me) will be built across the street and to the north of the exisiting University Village strip mall (the one with Club Tan and Jimmy John's). The new mall will be a $2 million dollar, 20,000 square foot, two-story structure. Except for the second story, it should look pretty similar to the current strip mall at University Village. I'm curious if the second story will house offices or residential space. It would be nice to see some larger scale buildings in University Village with commercial on the ground floor and several floors of residential above. The name "Service Village" makes me think that Dakota Commercial isn't planning on this being much of a retail strip mall...more "service" businesses instead. The mall is supposed to have some sort of a coffee shop (I believe drive-thru) and it seems logical to picture Starbucks coming to University least that's my hope.

•"On 32nd" is a new one-story strip mall coming on 32nd...32nd Avenue, that is. It will cost $4 million and be 25,000 square feet. It will be in front of the new Kohl's store and directly west of Burger King. A Golden Corral restaurant was previously announced for this area, I wonder if the restaurant will be in the strip mall or what? Perhaps Golden Corral will be farther west...closer to 34th Street and Culver's. This strip mall will be the one built in the busiest location so look for "On 32nd" to have some pretty good stores/restaurants. I would like to see a Panera Bread or maybe another Caribou Coffee.

•"Cottage Growth" (or was the article supposed to read "Cottage Grove"?) will be a two-story strip mall on South Washington across from the new Aurora Medical Park/Stadter Center development. This area seems to be really heating up. A Wells Fargo bank and a new Valley Dairy also appear to be on there way to this neighborhood. The strip mall will be 46,200 square feet and cost $6.2 million. This is a pretty big development and it will be interesting to see what comes to such a new part of town. Maybe another Starbucks? And yes, I love Starbucks. Have a problem with that?

Any opinions on what you would like to see come to any of these new strip malls? I'm thinking we could be getting some good new restaurants or smaller stores with around 90,000 square feet of new strip malls. Exciting to see more commercial growth in Grand Forks.


JGS said...

Very exciting developments soon to start construction! I'm surprised I missed this article in Saturday's paper. I'm excited to see more businesses proposing to build along the Washinton corridor. It seemed like the southern part of South Washington went dead for a few years after the 32nd Avenue retail came.

By the way, you made a double post of the Strip Mall topics. Also, looks like you made a error and didn't close a bold and it continued on the rest of the topics farther down.

PartTime said...

Sounds and looks like a lot of development in South Grand Forks around 47th Ave South. Question.......what is the status of the Merrifield road? Looks like they are working on it now, are they looking at maybe an off ramp at that exit on I 29? I for one think an off ramp there would be nice, not to mention it would be good for businesses going up.

GrandForksGuy said...

Uffda, thanks for pointing out my errors, JGS. I guess that's what I get for blogging at 3 A.M., huh?

glass half full said...

There was a lot of talk about an off ramp at Merrifield several years ago but you never see it on anyone's radar anymore. Once the bridge issue comes up, the off ramp will as well. From what I remember the funds would have to be earmarked for the off ramp for DOT purposes. With the 'pork' issues in Washington recently I would be surprised if anything came through.

Dave Miller said...

How can you be excited about strip malls? Strip malls are the death knell of urban planning. It's part of the reason why Americans are fat and lazy. People have to drive everywhere. Adding three new strip malls will turn a large majority of Grand Forks into a giant parking lot. It's horrible city planning, it's urban sprawl at its worst and they just suck. That's right, I hate strip malls.

GrandForksGuy said...

I may be a bit of a retail whore, but I don't personally mind seeing GF get a few new places for stores and restaurants to open up in. Except for the ubiquitous parking lots, These strip malls should all look pretty nice from the outside at least. Also, two of the strip malls are two-story which is unusual for Grand Forks so I am actually happy to see the developer going with a slightly denser design than most GF strip malls. These two-story strip malls will provide retail on the ground floor and either offices or residential (I'm not sure) on the second floor and I think it is good to see GF going "up" and not just "out". From what I have heard, the South Washington neighborhood where the Cottage Growth mall is coming is actually going to be designed to be more pedestrian friendly than other areas on GF's outskirts.

I have always been a big fan on the concepts of New Urbanism. While I realize that strip malls go against New Urbanism, I think that little changes like two-story strip malls and making new retail centers more pedestrian friendly are at least steps in the direction of a more "livable" landscape.

Brooks said...

Its great to see more stuff at University Village ,like that chiropractor, being geared towards the old folks in the townhomes north of the ralph. (being sarcastic)

its good to see development like this, but after hearing that this area was originally intended for students, it kinda sucks the way its going. club tan, jimmy johns, suite 49, and university station are great, but it doesnt seem like much more student-oriented stuff is planned.

And i dont mean to say that the students are more important, i just thought that the area should be developed like it was intended.

tom c said...

Having lived in other parts of this country, I desparately want to see better choices when it comes to restaurants in this town. With all of the nice restaurant chains out there, I can't believe we're getting a Golden Corral. Another restaurant in Grand Forks I won't go to. Panera Bread please!

Anonymous said...

A mix of retail and residential in one structure is nothing new and makes more sense now than ever given rising fuel costs. Plus, the ground floor of a low- or mid-rise building is seldom desirable for habitation.

If we're ever going to extract people from their cars - and I realize that's a long way off in GF - we'll have to merge living with shopping and essential services in pleasant walkable environments.

Anonymous said...

I, like Dave, am not a fan of strip malls either. The interstate retail district is clogged enough in my opinion.

Whenever I visit a new city, I go out of my way to find locally owned businesses and restaurants to get the true flavor of the community.

I just hope visitors to our city know there's more to it than generic shopping centers and uninspiring chain restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Where do you go in GF to find anything OTHER than uninspiring restaurants? Beyond Sanders, Dakota Harvest, Suite 49, I can't think of any.

ben said... - you answered your own question

Semireg said...

bkr said...

How about these non-chain places that serve up a decent meal:
*Darcy's Cafe on North Washington St.
*3rd Street Cafe
*Amazing Grains
*Grandma Butterwicks (big breakfasts)
*Italian Moon (go there to see all the cool UND sports memorabilia!)
*Al's Grill
*Del's Cafe in the South Forks Plaza (I still can't call it the "Grand Cities" Mall!)

That's just a sampling of some locally-owned places to try, if you haven't already. In fact, I recently had some people from Winnipeg ask for directions to Darcy's because they heard it serves great breakfast. Better than Perkin's, that's for sure!!

JGS said...

Decent meals? Darcy's, Bronze Boot, and Gramma Butterwicks serve the best food in town. I always walk out full and happy at these places. I would consider these places better then decent, in my opinion.

Back to strip mall topic. I'm also a fan of retail stores coming to Grand Forks. I don't mind seeing 3 new strip malls building this summer. Just shows our economy is growing. Might not be cosider growth to some people, but in my view it is.

tom c said...

I have a question about these so-called decent restaurants; how many of the following restaurants
*Darcy's Cafe
*3rd Street Cafe
*Amazing Grains
*Grandma Butterwicks
*Italian Moon
*Al's Grill
*Del's Cafe
would have any chance of staying in business if they had to compete against quality "uninspiring" chain restaurants? How would Italian Moon (I guess it's supposed to be an Italian restaurant) fare if there was an Olive Garden nearby? How long would Bronze Boot stay around with an Outback across the street? With the exceptions of Sanders, Suite 49, and Blue Moose, none of these restaurants would make it in any city other than Grand Forks. Look at how Fargo has a nice mix of quality chain restaurants and quality local restaurants. The competition forced other restaurants to be better or close. I don't see that in Grand Forks and the addition of sub-par chain restaurants like Culver's and Golden Corral will not do anything to improve that. If you think local Grand Forks restaurants are good now, it will be a lot better with more competition, so bring on the Chili's, PF Changs, Friday's, and Olive Garden. I can't wait.

JGS said...

The real question is.. Why would any retail restaurant (Outback) would want to build across the Bronze Boot anyways? On top of that, there lies a new county jail across from the Bronze Boot so I see no retail chain building there ever.

PartTime said...

The bigger the town, the more the competition, that's just the way it is. Years ago we used to have the small neighborhood grocery stores, then came the bigger grocery stores and the small stores closed up, we hated to see it happen, but there's no way they could compete. Size does matter, the bigger the towns get, the more the chain restaurants/stores want to come. Competition is good and it usually means more variety for you and me.

GrandForksGuy said...

parttime, picking out odd looking buildings that probably used to function as neighborhood grocery stores in GF is a hobby of mine. Ok, not really a hobby, but I do like to make guesses about them. There are some really unusual looking older homes around town that were more than likely neighborhood grocery stores at one point. From what I have heard, there were at least a couple dozen of these little stores in GF at the peak.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me if Joe Black's is closing? I heard it a couple weeks back and thought no way it is to soon. Then I heard it again that they will be packing it in soon. Does anyone know if this is a true rumor?