Sunday, June 08, 2008

The new Columbia Mall

Columbia Mall appears set for a major renovation and redevelopment project which may bring new life to the 30 year old mall. Columbia Mall's owners, GK Development, have drawn up what can only be called impressive plans to totally renovate and reconfigure the space formerly occupied by Target and establish it as a new "lifestyle center" sort of addition to the mall.

According to GK's website:
A new 90,000 sf renovation will bring more retail, restaurants and specialty options to enhance the real shopping experience at Columbia Mall. Bringing the outdoors in, GK Development, Inc. will create an extraordinary space - including a bright, enclosed atrium roof as a highlight - showcasing many more exciting places to shop, eat and play. Changes will also take place on the exterior, where the renovation will include beautiful streetscaping and enhanced entrances to those retailers.

Some readers may remember that I had a post back in February in which I discussed potential plans for the old Target space. At that time, I mentioned options for this space which appear to be similar to what we are seeing in GK's plans. I have to say that I was "thinking big" when I talked about those plans back in February...I didn't necessarily think that such a "grand" redevelopment of the old Target space would take place. Clearly, I wasn't the only one thinking big.

These are impressive plans and they look quiite a bit like a "lifestyle center." Currently, there is nothing like this in the region. The plans appear to show a variety of retail and restaurant spaces - about 23 leasable spaces of varying sizez - with a variety of both interior and exterior entrances. Even West Acres in Fargo has no development quite like this. In fact, am I the only one thinking that the "new" Columbia Mall could be really giving West Acres some much needed competition in the not too distant future?

I find it interesting that, back in February, many of us were talking about the need for a large new bookstore in the mall. You may be happy to see that the floorplans for the space show a 27,900 square foot space labeled simply as "Books." I'm guessing that, in order for GK Development to actually label that space, they have a tenant already lined up. My guess? Almost certainly a brand new Barnes and Noble...a "real" Barnes and Noble for Grand Forks.

As someone who has fond memories of shopping at Columbia Mall starting as a small child back in the 1980s, I've been sad to see it get quieter, less exciting, and a little neglected in recent years. I personally think that, if these plans are actually put into place, Columbia Mall may just become as exciting as the mall I remember as a child...maybe even much more so.

And what in the world are those big buildings that appear west of the old Target space in the above rendering? They look like a new hotel and some sort of giant movie theater complex if you ask me. Very interesting!

71 comments:

GrandForksGuy said...

Guess how many square feet the new Minot B&N is? 28,000 quare feet. Could this be any more obvious?

Anonymous said...

Borders bookstores are that big too! :)

Anonymous said...

Wanna no whats funny? the river cities mall has a better occupancy rate then columbia mall. now thats funny

Anonymous said...

This will be great! The Columbia mall is gross, old, and quite depressing. There are various spots in the mall that smell like vomit and pee.

I think this would give everyone in Grand Forks somewhere to go and hang out, eat, read some books, and possibly see a movie. Right now I only go to Columbia when I actually need to buy something. It would be nice to just go there and window shop without feeling suicidal after leaving.

Anonymous said...

Any plans to remodel/update the rest of the mall in conjunction with this renovation of the target wing??

GrandForksGuy said...

"the river cities mall has a better occupancy rate then columbia mall."

Where exactly is the "River Cities Mall?"

GrandForksGuy said...

"Borders bookstores are that big too! :)"

The interesting thing is that the new Minot B&N and the space labeled as "Books" here are almost EXACTLY the same size. I'm thinking they have something already lined up here...

OUWxGuesser said...

How about the brand new digital billboard at the corner of Washington and Demers???? Now if someone could fill the corner with businesses...

Barbara said...

If they can fill all the spaces, this could be a great place to shop. I'd love to see a specialty kitchen shop take up residence in one of them, maybe a Williams-Sonoma. A Crabtree & Evelyn would be nice and a Sephora. Also, some men's clothing options would be nice. Ah, to dream.

Anonymous said...

Yes, some more choices for Mens clothing would be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

a city with a large university and an afb and a younger population and no maternity stores...hopefully a motherhood maternity is headed our way too!

What I knnow said...

Barbara and I clearly have the same shopping tastes. I second what she says!

What I know said...

Ha. Apparently I what I "knnow" isn't to have my coffee and THEN type.
Caffeinating as we speak....

Anonymous said...

Anyone heard anything about the Firkin Pub??? I thought it was supposed to be open this summer?

Anonymous said...

Are you going to have a post asking how many time a person can use "I" in a paragraph? You had 8 of them in a 4 sentence paragraph. how many mirrors you got in your house?

Anonymous said...

I wonder when this updating will start taking place? I would be nice to see this in a couple of years or so. Also I hate to say it but it will probably not be a Borders because that company is currently in the red pretty bad. Which sucks because I would pick Borders over Barnes and Noble any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

I guess I've never considered shopping, or malls "exciting."

At any rate, when they do renovate the mall, I hope some kind of general merchandise retailer will fill some space.

I think the River Cities Mall that's in question is the Grand Cities Mall.

anonymouse said...

I agree Barbara, it would reinvent Grand Forks if we had shops like Restoration Hardware, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn. Maybe instead of getting drunk every weekend at Sanders, people would enjoy their upscale homes more. And my friends with their design business, I won't mention who, would buy local instead of traveling to the Cities for their loot.

Anonymous said...

Imagine the nerve of somebody using the word "I" on his personal blog!

Anonymous said...

"There are various spots in the mall that smell like vomit and pee."

That's a damn lie! Good God, are you serious?

Smells like vomit and pee...get the hell over yourself!

Anonymous said...

I hope GK uses its own judgement (or research) about what types of new retailers to pursue. A friend attended a meeting recently where the mall manager heard recommendations. When my friend mentioned she'd like to see a Pottery Barn, the mall manager said, "Oh, that would never go over here. We need a wooden toy store." NO KIDDING! If that's their idea for what GF and Columbia Mall needs, be afraid...be very afraid.

Plum said...

Assuming they can actually get the tenants to FILL all these "exciting" new store-fronts ...

I'll believe it when I see it.

And also, I would hate to think they would be putting in a movie theater, isn't a 10 and a 12 + a discount theater more than enough?

OUWxGuesser said...

Who's going to work at all of these store fronts if all of the current stores are struggling to keep adequate labor already?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:02;

Actually the spot right next to that pretzel stand (or whatever it is) in the center of the mall consistently smells like vomit. Like someone recently threw up on the ground or something.

Lynsey said...

My guess is that whoever smells vomit at the mall is smelling a pungent food or cleaner that doesn't sit well with their stomach -- not actual vomit.

Anonymous said...

Im pretty sure there is an actual vomit stain right there on the nasty carpet.

Maybe they could revamp the mall by taking out that disgusting carpet. Carpet at a mall is just nasty.

Columbia Mall is like the trailer park of Malls.

Have you ever noticed how many weirdo's hang out there?

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed how many weirdo's hang out there?
Yes I have. Which one were you?

Anonymous said...

I like Columbia Mall....but I have to agree that the pretzel stand stinks. I can't believe how many people buy pretzels!

Anonymous said...

I have never noticed the "pee" and "vomit" smells myself, but my Canadian friends stated that they thought the mall smelled like "pee" in some spots as well.

Anonymous said...

Its gross, there is no ventilation there to get rid of the pee and vomit smell.

Anonymous said...

Not pee or vomit, but . . . .

http://www.break.com/index/making_a_bank_deposit.html

Please improve GF! said...

This renovation needs to start ASAP! Face it folks, the mall is very depressing! When Mankato, St. Cloud and Bismarck, heck, even Rochester MN have nicer malls than GF, you know you are in trouble!

Mall Rat said...

Malls are so 1980s! I love them!

C. Y. said...

Aren't a bunch of small stores at the mall contrary to the city's plan of small stores downtown?

David said...

I'm sure West Acres in shaking in its boots. Good luck to the developers, the mall is depressing.

Anonymous said...

The "puke" smell is the cheese they put on the italian pretzel.

The "South Forks Plaza Mall"!!! now that is a mall.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Macy's is putting pressure on GK to update mall infrastructure. Macy's has already closed their Bismarck store and could well do the same here if they don't see management committed to overall success of mall. No inside info, here, just wondering.

ec99 said...

"I wonder if Macy's is putting pressure on GK to update mall infrastructure. Macy's has already closed their Bismarck store and could well do the same here..."

But I believe they have committed to housing an FAO Schwartz, so closing at this point isn't likely.

Ouwxguesser brings up a good point about labor. Will it just be the same people who are already working 2-3 low-wage jobs?

PartTime said...

ec99......Was that the Macy's store that closed in Bismarck? I heard a big box store closed or was closing, but never heard which one.

Anonymous said...

Macy's in Bismarck closed months ago. The latest closing there is the Home Depot.

Anonymous said...

ec99,

The FAO announcement was relatively recent and a blanket commitment for all Macy's stores nationwide. I think whatever pressure Macy's could have (stress, COULD HAVE) put on GK would have taken place months ago.

Jimmie said...

I really think we need another upscale department store in GFK. Most cities have more than one (Dillard's, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, etc.) and I don't consider JC Penney or Sears "upscale." They are good at what they do, but they do not carry name-brand clothing items or a selection of "lifestyle" merchandise, such as high-end cookware, home decor, dishes, etc. The GFK Macy's store has such a limited selection, that it is so much easier just to go to Fargo or order online than to try to find something you need here.

Now, do I really think Nordstrom or Lord & Taylor will come to Grand Forks? Heck no, we're far too small and rural of a market, but I think a store like Dillard's stands a great chance if they ever expand this far north. They have many stores down south in smaller towns and malls, and their stock selection far exceeds that of Macy's current offerings.

Anonymous said...

GFG asks about the larger buildings on one end of Target redevelopment. That looks like an IMAX theater as part of a larger recreational center to me, probably not more conventional theaters.

Anonymous said...

If that is true with the IMAX that would be a very nice change. Which means it could be AMC, they are very adamant with putting IMAXs in with their newer theaters. It would be something that we have that a lot of nearby larger cities do not. Also I kinda miss IMAX but I'm not desperate enough to drive to the Twin Cities for it.

Barbara said...

I'd love to see a Restoration Hardward, Pottery Barn, or an Ethan Allen. One thing I can never find is higher quality furniture and textiles. Either Grand Forks is lacking or I just don't know where to look. (If it's that I don't know where to look, please share the details!) I know CC Plus Interiors carries a lot of the higher end brands, but they have no real showroom and I'm not going to spend a lot of money without seeing it or touching it first. I'm tired of buying stuff from our local furniture stores that looks decent, but the quality just isn't there. Why would they think something like Pottery Barn wouldn't go over here, when there obviously isn't anything similar in town or close.

Anonymous said...

There was actually supposed to be an giant movie theatre built with the CanadInn, but the movie theatre exec's were not too confident in the profitability of putting one in, so it was put on the backburner.

I think Grand Forks will benefit greatly by getting some new theatres, new/redeveloped Columbia Mall, and newer stores.

Right now everything just kind of sucks. Columbia Mall smells like pee, and Carmike movie theatre is just as gross.

I say out with the Mom and Pop places and in with corporate super services, Yeah!

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that Carmike theatre has more butter on the theatre seats than on the popcorn. That place is 'some kind of nasty'.

Anonymous said...

Yep, its smells of pee, mothballs and there is no ventilation. Also, they are probably the smallest theatres I have ever been in. If I go to a movie, and the person behind me coughs, I can count on getting sick!

Anonymous said...

Yay for election day in El Forko!

Anonymous said...

What is it with people saying places "smell like pee"? is that the new way of saying "I am too dumb to think of constructive critisism, so let's just say it smells like pee"? Get a clue people. yes, the ventilation is terrible at the theaters, yes - Columbia Mall smells like Italian pretzels...they need a direct ventilation for the pretzelmaker. Yes, the places are both in desparate need of a makeover, but use some brains when you talk, please!

Anonymous said...

Who uses malls these days seriously? I believe they were the "place to go" in the the past decades, but now it appears to be all about walmart or target.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:35
When I said it smells like pee above, I mean it smells like PEE! Apparently YOUR too dumb to understand what it means when someone says it smells like pee!

Let me illustrate: Columbia Mall and Carmike Theatres both smell like pee. How many other ways can you explain it? Would you prefer I say it smells like urine? How about piss? What about yellow gold?

Im not going to sugar coat the nasty pee smell at both places. How would you suggest I give constructive criticsm for eliminating the PEE smell?

Anonymous said...

Mayor Brown wins over Mack. greenglass4

Anonymous said...

greenglass4

add something to the discussion for once.

Anonymous said...

I too made a comment about the "pee" smell, and that is exactly what I meant ... the play area in the mall smells like urine and needs to be cleaned more often. I realize there are small children playing in that area, but that is no excuse you still have to keep on top of the cleaning of those smells. I have a small child in my house, that does not mean I succumb to having my whole house smell like pee. I clean and ventilate.

Anonymous said...

does Kelly Clow have a website or blog?

Anonymous said...

I was surprise Mac ran a slightly negative campaign. Hmmm....I thought better of Mac.

Anonymous said...

"That's a damn lie! Good God, are you serious?

Smells like vomit and pee...get the hell over yourself!"

This might be the best reaction I've seen to anything on here ever. Talk about blowing up over the fact that our mall smells like someone pissed in it.

Anonymous said...

We should start a new club. Grand Forks Residents Against Smelly Pee Pee Malls

Anonymous said...

Columbia=Pee Pee

Carmike=Pee Pee

Anonymous said...

What was negative about Mac's campaign?
Since when is stating fact negative?

Kelly Clow said...

"does Kelly Clow have a website or blog?"

No, not really. I have a Myspace and a Facebook page...but that's pretty much it.

Was there something you wanted to know?

Anonymous said...

Facts can be positive for negative, Professor. Can't you tell the difference? Mac doing negative campaigns ads that put a disparaging light on Mayor Brown's record regarding a trip to Norway and gift to a Japanese city that implied improper or negative behavior. Does that help?

Goon said...

So stating the facts about Mayor Brown is negative campaigning? I don't see it. There are a lot of people that I talked to that would welcome a change in city hall.

Next; since when is putting out an add counter to their opponents record negative? This hasn't been a food fight like the Obama and Clinton debacle. I saw nothing about Mac's campaign that came even close to that.

The only shame that I see is that Mac didn’t get elected. Oh well, next time.

Anonymous said...

Goon,

I don't think there was mud slinging, but when a candidates list faults of opponets, true or not, instead of promoting one's agenda, most pundents would agree that is considered "negative campaigning." It's a technical term, I would say that points out questionable things. It's putting the focus on the opponent in a negative light. I think Mac had an ad that did that. He also ran an ad that was not "negative", but I would say the one ad was negative in a technical sense.

Anonymous said...

Anybody know what was running on the digital billboard on Demers and Washington on election day? I caught a blip on the news, but missed it that the city took it down by mid-afternoon. It made me wonder if it was something about reminding people to vote from your Mayor Brown or something.

ec99 said...

After the Tuesday elections, there will be no change in GF. TB will occupy a seat on the council and will continue to be out voted on every spending plan. The school board is pretty much the same as it was. And the county commission likewise. And people here will still lament the lack of an Olive Garden.

Anonymous said...

"After the Tuesday elections, there will be no change in GF."

And which position were you running for?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ :46 PM, June 12, 2008:

Are you the author of "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS?"

Stating a fact about something and then saying you don't agree with that fact is negative?

What a bunch of pansy-ass BS. I bet you don't let your kids watch cartoons because someday the Coyote might just catch the Roadrunner and only God knows what will happen then. Something negative could even come out of that.

What the hell are we turning into? Politically correct pansies afraid to get a little firm about our principles so we don't offend someone?

Anonymous said...

It smells like pee in here.

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