Thursday, February 28, 2008

Plans for the old Target space

It's one of the biggest paradoxes in Grand Forks: what to do with that old Target store space at Columbia Mall? Target Corporation used to own the space, but sold it to the owners of the mall, GK Development, a while back and now GK is entertaining proposals from potential tenants.

The idea put forth by GK no longer looks for just one major store to occupy the space. Instead, a more likely outcome would see the space renovated for a variety of smaller tenants. The possibility remains that a renovation could simply just make the Target space an extension of the existing west wing of the mall. However, I'm guessing that we aren't going to see just an extension of the existing wing here...I'm betting that a small-scale "lifestyle center" will occupy the space. This would mean not just one big tenant, but also not just a bunch of small sized typical mall stores. A lifestyle center concept here would more than likely mean one or two larger tenants and several mid-sized tenants. If the concept stayed true to the lifestyle center model, the tenants would be higher-end retailers and the public spaces would give a very high-end feeling.

I've started thinking about what possibilities might be in store for the space and I even drew up a few ideas. You'll note that all four plans presented here include a Barnes and Noble store anchoring the west end of the Target space. I think a new book store...preferably a B&N... would be a perfect fit for this space and is really something the community wants. I also really think a Panera Bread (or something like it) would be a very good fit for a portion of this space. Just to give you a point of reference, the Barnes and Noble that I've included in the plans is actually a little larger than the size of the Fargo store.

Plan #1
This concept includes B&N anchoring the western portion of the space and two slightly smaller retailers and a Panera (or something liek it) taking up the bulk of the space. As far as what might fill the other store spaces here, think something along the lines of Trader Joe's and perhaps a higher-end clothing or home store.


Plan #2
In addition to the B&N and a Panera, this concept includes several smaller stores facing smaller hallways than what presently exist at the mall. I'm thinking these hallways would need to be fairly narrow to accommodate the space needed for multiple small stores. I would like to see a whole bunch of skylights in these hallways. I think with skylights and with proper decor, narrow hallways could actually be quite nice. As far as what would go in these stores, I would imagine some of the higher end clothing stores that presently exist in a city like Fargo but that we're lacking in Grand Forks.


Plan #3
This concept includes just B&N and a large department store-sized spot. Perhaps a Herberger's? If the space isn't big enough for a department store, I suppose the building could always be built out farther north.


Plan #4
This concept includes the prerequisite B&N and many small typically mall-sized retailers. I personally would like to see larger stores go into this space than what I'm showing here. I think several larger sized stores in this space would be a bigger draw than a bunch of smaller stores.

So, what do you think of my ideas? Which one(s) do you prefer? Are they all feasible or are there any pipe dreams among the bunch? What retailers and/or restaurants would you like to see fill some of these spaces? Would you be satisfied seeing a Barnes and Noble take up a good portion of the old Target space? Share you thoughts!

40 comments:

Jimmie said...

I personally prefer Idea #1 with the two "other" retailers being something along the lines of a Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn...and then a nicer clothing store or something. However, it will be interesting to see what really happens. I highly doubt another full-scale department store like Herberger's or Dillard's would come here. Macy's has the "high end" market covered, and JC Penney's/Sears have the mid-range stuff covered.

GrandForksGuy said...

Great ideas, Jimmie. I too would love to see a C&B or a PB in town. We really need a nice home store like one of those.

Kelly Clow said...

Jesus, man.

Have you showed these to GK Development? Those are really good ideas.

I like your plan #1, with the exception of the Panera Bread in it. Panera's need more space than that, as well as needing an entrance leading directly outdoors. They need to either be up all night (as they are down here in FL), or they need to start getting ready at about 4AM to start the baking if they were to open at 9 or 10AM.

On an ironic side note, I ate dinner at Panera Bread and then went browsing at Barnes and Noble just tonight!

P.S. Why have a coffee bar mere feet from a Barnes and Noble that will most likely already have one in it?

vcsuvike said...

GFG, I like your ideas. Whether is it a Barnes & Noble or another large retailer, smaller shops could fill the rest. Although I believe the Herald article stated the mall would be adding 85,000 sq ft to the former Target space. I wish there would be an indoor mini golf or something in there.

wendian said...

I worry about the effect a large bookstore would have on the mall's current bookstores; don't you think it would put them out of business? I mean, how many bookstores does a mall really need?

I am really in favor of an indoor recreation area (we've had this discussion before)...mini golf, putput cars, maybe even bowling?!...y'know, a place for people of all ages to go when it's 30 below zero.

As far as "upscale stores," it would be great to have: Ann Taylor, Crate and Barrel, Gymboree, Urban Outfitters, Trader Joe's, Hanna Andersson, Williams Sonoma, West Elm, Sephora, The Body Shop, J Crew, Banana Republic, a maternity store like Mimi or Motherhood (because there is NOWHERE in GF to get decent maternitywear), H&M, Hollister....

Anonymous said...

I'm all for a bookstore. A big bookseller would likely kill off the smaller stores in the interior, which is fine. I don't think I've found anything in either store in the last year that didn't have to be ordered in. Who knows, maybe playing B&N against Borders in the offer stage might get one to commit to the space?

Great ideas BTW.

Rebecca said...

I agree with Jimmie as well. And I'd love to get a Panera Bread in this town. So good!

Angie said...

First off - Panera yummy!

I really like idea #1 the best.

As for the other bookstores in the mall. Yes they will go out of business, but they are chain stores so the effect is relatively small. The current employees of those two stores could potentially move to the bigger and better new store. With their experience I'm guessing they would be a shoe in. :-)

IvyVine said...

I'm a fan of Plan #1 as well. Looks like there are lots of good ideas on what stores could fill the other spaces.

As for the other bookstores in the mall... I seem to remember them both being sub-brands of larger bookstores (Borders and some other one I don't remember).

I think one might still be useful as a smaller and convenient alternative to a larger store. The parent brands should look at having a full scale store in the new spot if they don't want to compete with a B&N.

No idea if this is even a possibility, but how cool would an indoor park be. Real grass, a playground, a big skylight for natural light. You could bring your kids to play or be able walk your dog in the winter or rain.

Maura said...

Instead of Panera, how about Chipotle? Chipotle is much easier to put in a small place like that, plus- it's better food.

I love the idea of an Urban Outfitters or Sephora there.

Anonymous said...

Good ideas.

(all those replies and not one mention of Olive Garden - oops)

Anonymous said...

ivyvine,

Yes, yes, yes to the indoor park. There are no big naturally-lit atriums in GF where you can escape to in the winter. New York is full of them and they're almost always full- people meeting, reading, dining.

thewanderingjew said...

While I like your ideas GFG, I really think that most are just a large pipe dream. Why would the mall increase store space that much if they can't fill many of the spaces in more-traversed areas of the mall now?

Anonymous said...

Chipotle!!!!!
Yes, that's what I want. It would be ND's first!
You think Taco Johns is good, wait until you have a Chipotle.

Anonymous said...

What if I don't think Taco Johns is good? How is Chipotle then????

GrandForksGuy said...

"While I like your ideas GFG, I really think that most are just a large pipe dream. Why would the mall increase store space that much if they can't fill many of the spaces in more-traversed areas of the mall now?"

But Columbia Mall/GK Development has now specifically said that they plan to convert the old Target space to multiple smaller stores and they are looking for potential tenants. Since they have already announced this plan, I don't think my concepts are so totally out of the question.

BTW, I forsee a remodeled Target space as becoming the new "front door" to the mall...kind of like how the West Acres food court is now that mall's "front door" of sorts. In order to accomplish this at Columbia Mall, GK is going to have to spend a fair amount of money to make the exterior of the space nice looking.

Columbia Mall really needs lots of new upgrades. The mall's exterior is very dated and needs to be redone. The entire parking lot is in fairly poor shape and needs to be redone. The landscaping around the mall isn't very nice these days. The "ring road" around the mall needs to be overlayed or rebuilt. The mall needs a bunch more exterior signage. All exterior entrances to the mall really need to be upgraded. The interior and exterior of JC Penney needs to be remodeled. The list goes on and on!

GrandForksGuy said...

I've never been to a Chipotle, but isn't it fairly similar to a Qdoba?

GrandForksGuy said...

And by the way...I'm loving all of these comments and ideas! I'm also glad to see that most readers like my ideas...

Matthew said...

I'm still holding out for UND students to complain loud enough to get Barnes and Noble to expand into a real bookstore come the end of the contract, as futile a hope that might be. With that in mind, I'd really like an indoor park--I think it would bring people back to the mall and would be something nobody around here is used to.

Logan said...

I've been anxiously awaiting a use for that barren side of the mall since the new Target opened, though I still prefer having Target in the mall, for it's manageable size and convenience (Bridget's Ice Cream anyone?)

As for matthew's comment, UND students are already fed up with B&N, we don't want a better one, we just want our university run bookstore back. College texts are way to expensive, and the buyback prices are insulting.

I would love to see an Ikea attached to the mall, but that seems a little far fetched.

Another possibility would be a park-board run indoor water park. It would be competition for the Canad Inn, and a possible source of income reverse that of the current outdoor pools the city keeps draining money through.

OUWxGuesser said...

Ikea... sounds great, but the only connection is the large number of people up here with Scandinavian bloodlines. If Ikea built a store, you'd have to tear down the entire mall to get it to fit in that location ;). Fargo doesn't even have a prayer of getting an Ikea... they go into areas with high population density.

ec99 said...

" we just want our university run bookstore back"

It's never going to happen. When B&N guaranteed $700K/year to UND, the empty suits with dollar signs in their eyes at Twamley had an orgasm.

Maura said...

As someone who worked for IKEA for a very long time, I can safely say that unless the entire state of North Dakota has a population boom that quintuples it in size, it will not happen.

IKEA's aim is to be a "destination" store- meaning they like that people travel from afar to shop with them. They also will search for prime real estate and purchase it- no matter how high the cost- knowing that in ten to twenty years it will pay for itself. They paid top dollar for that land by the Mall of America, and it worked out well for them!

IKEA Twin Cities considers people within a 500 mile radius of the store to be a part of their customer base. Grand Forks included! They count on business from people that far away, and they certainly get it. There is a room upstairs at IKEA that has mailings from hundreds and hundreds of furniture stores so that they can compare and contrast prices and merchandise.

I've worked retail for seven or eight years, but never before (and probably never since I left) IKEA have I seen such a large scale retail operation. In a Saturday we would have more customers in the store than the entire population of Grand Forks.

And yes, GFG, Chipotle is similar to Qdoba, but way better. :)

Anonymous said...

I certainly see a need for a specialty grocer in GF. I am so tired of having to special order items or look elsewhere outside GF.

J said...

I wonder if Scheel's ever considered taking over the Target spot? It's unfortunate because it seems like every other Scheel's in cities such as Minot, and Mankato, MN are developing brand new Scheel's. I wonder if they plan a new store along 32nd Avenue or behind Super Target in the near future?

Kelly Clow said...

Qdoba is alright, Chipotle is better.

But, without a doubt, Moe's Southwest Grill beats the living hell out of both of them.

Drive down to Fargo and order a "John Coctostan" sometime. When I was up visiting for Christmas, I drove to Fargo just to get one for lunch.

I was a manager for their sister brand, Shane's Rib Shack, and I ate at Moe's pretty much three out of seven days a week so I might be a little slanted in my opinion. But trust me, they have awesome food at Moe's.

Kelly Clow said...

Oops!

Shane's Rib Shack was actually only the sister brand of the FRANCHISE OWNER of Moe's, not the whole corporation. I should have made that clearer.

My bad. ;)

Anonymous said...

Chipotle is wonderful. I eat there every time I go through the Cities.

I vote for Sephora. Love that store.

Anonymous said...

If GK Development saw your so called "proposal", they'd laugh so hard they'd cry. Seriously, you want another bookstore in a mall that already has two bookstores? And oh yeah, did your forget we HAVE a B&N in Grand Forks already??? We are not getting another B&N in this town and will you people please STFU about Trader Joe's, they are not coming to Grand Forks ever.

GrandForksGuy said...

"Seriously, you want another bookstore in a mall that already has two bookstores?"

Who said the other two bookstores would stay in business? Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton are the same company. If that company chose to open a Barnes & Noble at Columbia Mall, the existing B. Dalton would almost certainly close. That is exactly what happened in Minot's Dakota Square Mall. The employees from that mall's B. Dalton have been moved over to the new Barnes & Noble. Personally, I would gladly sacrifice Columbia Mall's B. Dalton for a nice, big, new Barnes & Noble.

Similarly, Waldenbooks and Borders are the same company and if that company chose to open a Borders in Grand Forks, you could be pretty sure that our Waldenbooks would close. BTW, the Dakota Square Waldenbooks also shut down in the wake of the new Minot B&N...I would also sacrifice our Waldenbooks if need be.

"And oh yeah, did your forget we HAVE a B&N in Grand Forks already???"

If you seriously think we have an actual B&N in Grand Forks, you are misinformed. Barnes & Noble and Barnes & Noble College Booksellers aren't technically even the same company.

dale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I spoke with the CEO of Scheels last year and they did look at the space, but decided it wasn't suitable. They have said they plan to build a new store in Grand Forks, but do not have a timeline.

Anonymous said...

"Wilson's Leather and FYE are now gone"

I was just in the mall a couple weeks ago and Wilson's was there? Did they recently close or move to a new location?

GrandForksGuy said...

The Wilson's chain is in the process of closing most of their stores. The store in Bismarck is also closing. I believe the West Acres location will stay in business...but under a new name that the company is using to rebrand the remaining Wilson's locations.

Anonymous said...

I personally think GK development messed up when they put the food court where they did. I think if they had put the food court down at the end where Target used to be, it would have made that end more attractive to develop in the ways GFG has stated. The rent is always higher where the food court is located, so it would only make the area more attractive, since it would have increased customer traffic.

Anonymous said...

Chipotle is a joke. It is about as Mexican as I am, I have blond hair and blue eyes. What we could use is a El Campita Taco Stand or even better a Capriottis.
http://capriottis.com/
There are a lot of real Mexican places in the Twin Cities that put Chipotle to shame.

Anonymous said...

Chipotle isn't bad but is just a chain. If we're at it, why not Einstein Bros, or Noodles-n-Company?

I miss the mac-n-cheese from Noodles-n-Company and the asiago cheese bagels that you can buy at Target just aren't the same as they would be in the store . . .

But another bookstore? Again, I would much rather see more local boutique-style shops than another bookstore. And I read a lot of books. Why Barnes-N-Noble and not Borders?

I do agree though, a Panera Bread with a coffee bar might be a mistake with a big-box bookstore that already has a coffee shop.

Anonymous said...

I love that we are all doing this imaginary mall thing. We're so stinkin' bored here that we daydream about new mall stores. What I don't get is why KC from FL bothers to daydream with us. FL has malls, and beaches!

Anonymous said...

Nothing would turn Columbia Mall around like getting Scheels to do as they apparently have done in Bismarck and Minot.
But they are not going to do so when they have that big store in Fargo and expect us to drive down there.
Let's teach them a lesson and not buy from that little hole in the wall by the hospital.
They are strictly busines and if they had no business maybe they would move.
The same attitude holds for Crate and Barrel and all the other national stores. It is just too bad we are not 175 miles from Fargo. If we were we would have alot more of those kinds of stores here, if that is important to you.

Anonymous said...

It makes me laugh that you think you will get a Trader Joe's. You guys are so dumb.