Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Columbia Mall's black eye

One of the things I really like about this blog is that I can almost instantly get a wide variety of opinions on a particular topic. Last week I asked you what you would like to see in the old Civic Auditorium in downtown Grand Forks (post). This week, I want to know what you would like to see in the empty Target space at Columbia Mall.

It has been over six years since Target left Columbia Mall for the greener pastures of the Grand Forks Marketplace and Columbia Mall hasn't really been the same since. In my opinion, the mall was already fading before Target ever left, but the fact that they did leave after being an anchor for so many years really hurt the mall. I don't have any figures to look at, but I have to think that the stores that make up the Grand Forks Marketplace together have more customers and sell more merchandise than the stores in Columbia Mall do.

In short, Target leaving their former home was not only a sign that Columbia Mall was currently struggling, but it was also a major blow to the future of the mall. The fact that the old Target space is still empty after so many years also says something about Columbia Mall...something a little depressing. It is rather depressing to see the western corridor of the mall anchored by literally nothing year after year.

So, since the old Target space is still empty, I want to know what you would like to see done with it. What store(s) should locate there? Or do you have ideas for something other than retail? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but Target still has a lease or owns the space. It was a big change after they left. Sorry no good ideas. greenglass4.

GrandForksGuy said...

No. GK Development, owner of Columbia Mall itself, now also owns the Target space.

Reed said...

I say put a Denny's in it

MattFacingSouth said...

I've always advocated a family center there. Miniature golf, arcade, batting cages - but done really well otherwise it won't work.

If it's high-quality enough, I don't really see how it could go wrong.

Anonymous said...

How about a city-owned liquor store? When the city makes a liquor license available for the Alerus, just right it for offsale as well. The precedent is already there for the city dabbling in the private sector. It's a win-win. The city gets the profits, the citizens get cheap liquor.

ben said...

How about Scheel's? They have expanded most other stores except for GF, and the current store is way undersized for what they have in it. I think a nice re-model of the store could be a perfect fit for them;

Anonymous said...

For years, Target and its parent at the time, Dayton Hudson, refused to lease the space to any retailer it saw as competition to either Target or Dayton's. That negated interest from Costco, Herberger, etc.

Hopefully that will change now, if it's true that GK owns the lease.

Anonymous said...

And what about that eyesore on the northern end of the Columbia Mall site? I think it used to be a Labelle's catalog store. They ought to raze that thing.

vcsuvike said...

I visited with Scheels and they already passed on the old Target building. I believe when GK bought the building the agreement was it couldn't be anything that competes with Target.

I believe some sort of indoor amusement park with walk-thru aquarium would work great. Hotels and many roads are extremely close and that would drive traffic into the mall.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the vacancy says as much about
Columbia Mall as it does about big-box retail trends. Stores want to be able to own their property and structures and signage so they can expand and market their businesses as they see fit without the restrictions imposed by malls. Visibility is also a big issue.

Kelly Clow said...

I still think a Steve and Berry's store should go there. They would serve the university population perfectly, in my opinion.

They have 200 stores in 33 states, and each one is pretty big. The one near my house took over an old JC Penney anchor spot in the University Square Mall here in Tampa last year, and has already remodeled this spring to expand.

What makes the store so good is the fact that there isn't anything in the place that costs more than $15. Shoes, jeans, COATS, shirts. And everything is actually fashionable, not cheap looking. Go to their site (www.steveandberrys.com) to see what I'm talking about.

I shop there all the time.

Anonymous said...

Kelly,

Never heard of them. Reminds me of H&M, but even cheaper. Sounds like a good match though. Whenever people recommend stores that normally open in larger markets, we have to ask ourselves whether the concept will attract Winnipegers. This def. seems to fit that criteria.

Anonymous said...

Grand Forks almost certainly has the correct demographics for Steve and Barry's. In Ohio, there are in almost every regional mall, and there are especially popular in college towns. They also don't normally locate as a big box, as they want to attract the mall rat crowd.

With them opening 100 stores annually, tt's probably just a matter of time. But they seemed to have jumped over the western Midwest to hit the Coastal markets quicker.

Kelly Clow said...

Every time I fly up to GF, I get friends at UND and family members sending me a shopping list of things to bring up from there. That alone tells me that there is a market for the place!

Incidentally, I just called the Columbia Mall and spoke to the marketing director to give her the suggestion, and she was very interested to hear that people were talking about the subject of ways to improve the Mall. She said she was going to send my suggestion along to her General Manager.

Maybe this blog CAN make a difference, huh?

Anonymous said...

I heard from the leasing manager at Columbia Mall that the Target space is going to be a hotel/waterpark with a walkway to the mall. That's what they're using as a draw to new tenants. I'll believe it when I see it.

Anonymous said...

I say remove the old Target space altogether and build a condo/high-rise. At least then you're guaranteed to draw business to the mall in the future.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great to get a decent Kmart Store in there and then get rid of the dirt mall.

Also, anyone who's seen Jessica Dugan in person KNOWS she's the hottest DAZ staff member there.

C. Y. said...

She is definitely a tall drink of water. (J. Dugan, that is)

I think she works harder than anyone else at 'DAZ, too.

Anonymous said...

How'd JD come into the dialogue?

Geesh...men...

GrandForksGuy said...

Kelly Clow said..."Maybe this blog CAN make a difference, huh?"

I would love to see this blog in some way make a difference in the city. I think city and business leaders need to be aware that there is now a way to easily see what the public thinks about a particular issue. My opinions aren't the really interesting thing about this blog...it is the comments that my posts facilitate that are interesting and valuable information for the community.

GrandForksGuy said...

I have no idea how Jessica Dugan found her way into this thread, but for what it's worth, Lacey Crisp has my vote...and don't forget about that hard hitting emo report that brought her world fame!

Anonymous said...

Fo' real. This is a website I visit daily. You should do some advertising (tidbits, the Geraldo) and get the web address out there. I just stumbled upon it through Google. Great site and gets the truth out.

I would agree, J. Dugan is a hottie, though I'm partial to Tami Osbourne and Andrea Larson on KVLY.

ben said...

are you kidding me??? anybody seen Cassie Walder in person??? - knocks out ANYBODY else in local news...wow OK - maybe that was a little too creepy!

Anonymous said...

GFG, Lacey is a joke. The emo report? Please tell me you are kidding. She gives GF a bad name!

Lynsey said...

To the "I'll believe it when I see it" comment on the water park/hotel in the mall:

It's working out amazingly at Dakota Square Mall in Minot. It makes a lot of sense for the Canadians coming down to shop: they're right in the mall, and the kids are kept busy.

Anonymous said...

I really think think that a Steve and Barry's would be a very suitable store to be put there as well. That store is awesome, it has great nice clothes for generic prices! It would be the perfect size for it and would really bring a lot of people to the mall, the Mall's Steve and Barry's parking lot would be full all of the time!

Kelly Clow said...

"I heard from the leasing manager at Columbia Mall that the Target space is going to be a hotel/waterpark with a walkway to the mall."

Really? The lady I talked to at the Mall yesterday said that they had no plans right now for the space. Hmmmm...either she was spinning me, or they need to get some better communication with each other over there.

Grand Forks Guy, I am really glad you have built such an effective forum here. One of the reasons I chose to leave GF was because of community inaction. Nobody seemed to care about getting up and being a part of the community, other than just complaining about things.

Now, that seems to have changed. Keep up the good work, folks!

GrandForksGuy said...

According to the company's website, most Steve and Barry's stores are between 50,000 and 100,000 square feet so they could probably fill at least half of the old Target store. I've always had a feeling that the Target property may not be filled by just one new tenant. I'm thinking that, eventually, there will be a couple of businesses in there. Unless, of course, we could get somebody like Scheel's to fill the whole thing.

If I'm not mistaken, wasn't Lynn Stauss trying to get a Steve and Barry's in the Riverwalk Center a year or two ago? [sarcasm]I wonder why they would possibly pass on that property???[/sarcasm]

ben said...

I think the hotel/waterpark thing is a good idea. I took a work trip to Minot recently and stayed in the hotel there that is attatched to the mall...sounds kind of cheesy, but it is a very nice hotel, and their mall is thriving with all kinds of new businesses and construction ongoing. I think if it was done right, there is no reason it wouldn't succeed here, too.

Anonymous said...

we definitely need some sort of family amusement place ... a good portion of families with young children in Grand Forks want more to do then just "shop" and "eat", neither of which are fun activities with children in tow.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at the Minot mall directory. They have smaller versions of our detached big box stores, attached to the mall...Old Navy, Best Buy, Target, Scheels.

In other words, I have a feeling this is THE place to shop, whereas in GF you need a car to hit all those places spread out over a larger area.

vcsuvike said...

Minot is unique in that a mall still works. Most big box stores want their own buildings and help develop areas like SuperTarget did (GF Marketplace). Almost all of Bismarck, Fargo, Rochester, and St. Cloud's new developments are like that. Mall's need to find a different niche to stay in the market.

Anonymous said...

So Kelly,
Will you be considering moving back to GF now that it is getting better???? GO FOR IT!

Kelly Clow said...

Wow, "Dude", you really think I should?

Anonymous said...

No

Kelly Clow said...

Didn't think so, smartass.

Anonymous said...

Minot mall also has a kickass food court. I really wish Columbia Mall's food court was that successful - and had that many options.

I really wish we had a movie theater with stadium style comfortable seating. Any word on the new theater in EGF? I just can't see each theater being very big based on the size of the 1/2 of the mall they'll be using and the number of screens they say they'll be having....

Anonymous said...

The Best Buy in Minot is not attached to the mall, but across the parking lot. Minot is able to have a great food court, since the food court has been there so long. They also have turnover in the food court. Minot tends to attract a lot of people from outerlying areas and Canada, so these people tend to eat there without having to leave. Unfortunately, Columbia Mall missed the boat and lost Wendys and now the type of restuarants you'd attract to a mall are all stand alone restuarants along 32nd avenue.

Anonymous said...

I'm jumping on the Steve and Barry's band wagon. Think the space and GF market is perfect fit for the store. Not to mention Sarah Jessica Parker's new line of cloths "bitten" is sold exclusivley at Steve and Barry's. I know it's an exciting thing...

If not Steve and Barry's how about another store with a duo of male names. Dave and Buster's! It's a resturant and arcade in one. Full of pool tables, air hockey, shuffle board, bowling you name it. Did I mention they serve booze? Well they do.

Kelly Clow said...

I agree whole-heartly on the Dave & Buster's suggestion.

That place is awesome. I go to Gameworks pretty often, but it doesn't have the bowling alley or pool tables down here.

Great suggestion, I hadn't even thought of that!

BTW, didn't Dave & Buster's recently buy out the Jillian's chain? Or was it vice-versa?

Anonymous said...

This mall is something to be desired. It definitely needs a large anchor store. The first thing people want to do when they visit another town is go to the mall. With the new hotels and dining establishments you'd think the mall would want to update as well. Macy's is a crying shame, just packed full of junk like JC Penny's. The choices are so limited. You can expect to see 10 people wearing the same crap. I do not appreciate having to spend my money in Fargo or Minneapolis but what do you do? I don't feel we can expect to be an inviting city when we cannot even meet the demands of our own residents!

Anonymous said...

Are you people BLIND?!?! Jessica Dugan is an ogre!