Uptown business development update

Gap Building. It looks as though the building at 3000 Hennepin Avenue, formerly occupied by the Gap, will have a new retail tenant. Jeff Herman of Urban Anthology, the leasing agent for the property, said they have a tenant and hope to finalize the lease soon. He said he could not reveal the business’s identity or type of business, but he did say, “it’s a new concept store for this retailer and unique to Minnesota and this company.” He added that construction of the store will start in summer or fall and that he thinks the business will be a great addition to Uptown. A source familiar with the project said that the company behind the new concept is a national retailer, possibly in women’s clothing, and that there is a signed letter of intent to occupy the building.

Xcel Energy started work in mid-March to move utility lines off the site of the planned Mozaic mixed-use development behind the Lagoon Cinema, according to Ackerberg Group President Mary Armstrong. She said that they will probably start construction in early or late summer. Stuart Ackerberg had said in January that he hoped to start construction this spring.

Anytime Fitness.
Anytime Fitness, a gym/workout facility open 24 hours daily, plans to open in the strip mall at 1010 West Lake Street, east of Arby’s. Anytime Fitness, a quickly growing franchise based in Hastings, MN, features “state of the art” equipment. East Calhoun resident Tim Prinsen, one of the property owners, said that the facility would be staffed limited hours, monitored by video surveillance, and always locked and accessed by keycard. A lease has not yet been signed. There are currently 37 Anytime Fitness locations in the metro area, including three in Minneapolis—one of them at 5309 Lyndale Avenue South.

Blue Sky Creamery.
The Blue Sky Creamery ice cream joint at 1513 West Lake Street (formerly Einstein’s Bagels) added food to its menu in mid-March in order to increase year-round business. Blue Sky now offers soups, salads, and a variety of hot and cold sandwiches including grilled chicken and half-pound hamburgers (fresh Angus certified beef—never frozen). Kids might like the deep-fried mac and cheese on the children’s menu. Blue Sky is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. It will institute summer hours with a 10 p.m. closing later this spring.

Atmosfere men’s clothing store in Calhoun Square became VState on March 1. VState sells men’s and women’s clothing. Owner Dan Vargas had managed the Uptown and downtown Atmosfere stores for the past year and bought out his partner to take control of the Calhoun Square location. Vargas described the clothing at VState as trendy, fashion forward, affordable and unique. Regarding Calhoun Square, he said, “we do okay with this location—slow weekdays, great weekend traffic.” VState is having a grand opening event Saturday, April 7, from 6 to 10 p.m. featuring music by local music great, Tim Mahoney.

Fitness Together. Fitness Together opened an Uptown outpost March 15 in Uptown Row at 1221 West Lake Street, #104. Fitness Together offers private, one on one, and personal fitness training, tailored to individual clients and focusing on weight training, cardiovascular and flexibility work. The Uptown location is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers three fully-equipped private workout stations, plus showers and lockers. Sessions typically are 45 to 90 minutes with an average cost of $70/session. For more information, call 822.3448 or go to www.ftuptown.com.

Mosquito & Lander. The Lander Group development firm moved its offices in mid-January from 3505 Hennepin to 1302 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis, in order to provide expansion room for Mosquito Inc., which has been located in the Hennepin building’s lower level since 2000. Mosquito is a full-service promotional products company that helps build brands with innovative merchandise and apparel. Its 17 full-time employees provide idea generation, creative product development and manufacturing, sourcing, project management, retail consulting, and online store development for many well-known and Fortune 500 companies such as General Mills, Polaris and Principal Financial (owner of Calhoun Square). The promotional products Mosquito develops are used for incentive and loyalty programs, giveaways, consumer promotions, trade shows, corporate gifts, company stores and retail sale. CFOO (chief financial and operating officer) Michael Pink said they love being located in Uptown and many of the employees live in the neighborhood. For more information, go to www.mosquito-inc.com.

Preservation Awards. The Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission and the American Institute of Architects Minneapolis are seeking nominations for the 2007 Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Awards. The awards recognize projects, individuals and organizations that celebrate and enhance the heritage and historic character of Minneapolis. Nominations are due by April 20. For further information, go to www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/hpc, or call 311. Award categories are historic restoration or rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, new addition to historic building, NRP project, community education and projects underway. An additional award will be given to an individual who has displayed leadership, courage and dedication to preservation.

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