Cushman & Wakefield’s Garrick Brown runs down retail intel at MSCA gathering

By: Adam Rae Voge

Garrick Brown, vice president of retail research for Cushman & Wakefield Americas, braved the cold weather of early 2017 to deliver his outlook for the year at the January meeting of the Minnesota Shopping Center Association.garrick_500px

Garrick, a San Diego native known as the Retail Wizard, shared his latest insight on where the retail market is going, how the recent presidential election might impact retailers, and more in the address, at the St. Louis Park DoubleTree hotel.

The speech was moderated by Director Deb Carlson.

Among Garrick’s insights: larger chain stores continue to struggle with how to stay competitive and appealing, especially to younger, millennial shoppers. That crowd tends to favor concepts such as Shinola, which seek to make each location and shopping experience unique from others in its chain. It has increasingly become an “evolve or die” marketplace, with brands turning to alternative lines, such as a Nordstrom Rack or Macy’s Backstage.

Garrick also noted that restaurants continue to be major movers and shakers in the retail world, with new concepts popping up all the time. But that also means many restaurants will close this year, as competitors jockey for position.

In the world of established retailers, Macy’s, The Gap and Sears are among the major brands facing rough times. Garrick told the MSCA crowd that store closures in 2016 were the highest he’s tracked since 2010, going back through about 20 years of data. As struggling chains find new ownership, they could find new life, but that also means more closures could be yet to come.

Garrick also delivered plenty of good news to MSCA members.

The “barbell of prosperity” continues for retailers on either end of the pricing spectrum — luxury retailers and discounters. Those brands, he said, are driving interesting activity for retail properties as they push back agains the highest rents in favor of well-located Class B properties.

Will 2017 bring the “death of the mall”? Not so fast, said Garrick, calling that notion “just stupid.” Most of the last 200 malls that closed in the U.S. were simply recategorized to power centers or another type of retail shopping center, trading an anchor for repurposed space.

In all, Garrick said he expects another active, headline-heavy year of retail news, both in Minneapolis and around the country.

Interested in more retail insights from Garrick? Follow @retailwizard on Twitter​! ​​

It’s true – Macys in downtown Minneapolis is closing


601W Cos. of New York is paying $40m for Macy’s 12-story building in the heart of Minneapolis, per the Star Tribune today.  This 115 year old building has been the anchor of retail in the Minneapolis CBD; no word yet on what 601W plans are for the property.  


Over 1,000 hotel rooms added in Minneapolis this year

In anticipation of next year’s Super Bowl visitors, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal is reporting that Minneapolis alone has added 1,000 rooms with new hotels this year, and more coming.   The Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel renovated and added 110 more rooms for a total of 312, the Radisson Red opened with 164 rooms, and the Embassy Suites by Hilton opened with 290 rooms.  The Hewing Hotel with 124 rooms and the AC Hotel Minneapolis Downtown with 245 rooms will both open this fall.   Meanwhile, United Properties is working on a Four Seasons hotel for its Nicollet Hotel project, Sherman Associates are planning another hotel in the Thresher Square project and Graves is pitching a Marriott Moxy hotel plan.

Fresh Thyme #5 Opens

Fresh Thyme

Fresh Thyme opened in Plymouth on Wednesday at the corner of Highway 55 and Vicksburg.  This new center developed by Oppidan includes Goodwill that opened last month, and a Starbucks under construction.   As was true at their previous openings, one of their first day promotions is a free give-away of a bag of groceries to the first 250 customers when the door opens at 7:00.   The first customer showed up at the Plymouth store at 2:30 in the morning to be first in line!  More Fresh Thymes coming:  Waite Park is next up, followed by St. Louis Park and Prospect Park.  Fresh Thyme is represented by Roger Lanahan of Cambridge Commercial.

IDS gets Nordstrom Rack


Nordstrom continues to expand their Rack format here in Minnesota with a new 40,000 sf location planned for the IDS Center.  NR will take over the space on the Crystal Court formerly occupied by Gap, plus some additional space in the basement level.  The store is projected to open in the fall of 2017.  Andrea Christenson of Cushman & Wakefield NorthMarq represents IDS, Mike Sims of Mid-America represents NR. 


More restaurants going dark

Lots of restaurants closing this summer here in the Twin Cities, and rumors are flying around about more coming:

  • Salt Celler closed in St. Paul on July 30.   Owners say they are going to renovate and reopen with a new concept under the same name.
  • Café Levain has closed in Minneapolis on Chicago Avenue.
  • Trattoria Tosca closed in Linden Hills.
  • The Pilgrimage Café closed on 38th Street in Minneapolis
  • Kaskaid Hospitality closed Zio Italian at MOA, converting it to a Cowboy Jacks in October with a partnership with The After Midnight Group.  They closed Salsa a la Salsa, and will convert it to Game Sports Bar.




Another vacant Rainbow to be redeveloped.

This one is the 70,000 sf empty box on Lake Street, east of Hiawatha.   Wellington Management has purchased this property and has plans to re-lease the space, and even potentially adding new retail space and apartments to the site.    Purchase price was reported as $5.35m per Finance & Commerce, with Wellington purchasing the property from Watson Centers. Inc.   Wellington Management also owns the Hi-Lake center on Lake Street, just west of this site.


And here’s the rest of the story . . .

If you have shopped the GoHome store in Uptown, you have a connection with Prince. The Business Journal is reminding us that back in the early 90’s, this space used to be the New Power Generation retail shop owned by the late singer, and the current shopkeepers kept the purple door as an homage to him. Prince had three New Power Generation locations – Minneapolis, Los Angeles and London – and sold Prince-related merchandise, souvenirs and movies. GoHome moved into the space in 1996. Most interesting is that Prince had a phone inside the store that would play unreleased songs for customers to pick up and listen.

Eat Mor Chikin

Chick-fil-A introduced this ad campaign in chick-fil-a1995 featuring a herd of “renegade self-serving cows” promoting the idea we should be eating more chicken and less beef.

Chick-fil-A began its expansion into the Twin Cities market in 2013 with restaurants opening in Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Bloomington, Apple Valley, and three outlet locations (Minneapolis St. Paul Airport, University of Minnesota, and Minnesota State University, Mankato). Additional restaurants were recently opened in Burnsville and Blaine. Chick-fil-A is in the planning stages for restaurants in Maplewood, West St. Paul, Eagan, Chanhassen, and Eden Prairie.

Chick-fil-A, Inc. is a family owned and privately held Restaurant Company founded in 1946 by S. Truett Cathy. Dedicated in serving the local communities in which its franchised restaurants operate, and known for its original chicken sandwich, Chick-fil-A serves freshly prepared food in more than 2,000 restaurants in 42 states and Washington, D.C.

Chick-fil-A opened its first restaurant in Greenbriar Mall in 1967 and continued expansion with stand-alone, mall and licensed locations throughout the country. The majority of the chain’s 2,000 restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent franchisees, ensuring oversight of day-to-day activities at the restaurant and employment and community involvement decisions.

Known for its freshly prepared food and award-winning customer service, Chick-fil-A’s menu options include its signature hand-breaded, boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich along with hand-chopped salads, fresh-squeezed lemonade and hand-spun milkshakes. Chick-fil-A Founder S. Truett Cathy first served his boneless breast-of-chicken sandwich, pressured cooked and served on a buttered bun with two crucial pickles, at his Dwarf Grill restaurant that opened in 1946 in Hapeville, Ga. The sandwich was the signature menu item when the first Chick-fil-A restaurant opened in 1967 and continues to be the most popular menu item today.

With a long-standing tradition in the restaurant industry for setting the highest standards in customer service, Chick-fil-A ranked first for customer satisfaction in the Limited Service Restaurants Industry by the American Customer Satisfaction Index for 2015. The company has also earned recognition as one of America’s “Most Inspiring Companies” by Forbes Magazine, one of America’s “Top 20 Most Admired Brands” by The Harris Poll and “Top Fast Food Chicken Chain” – for best chicken sandwich, customer service and cleanliness – by Consumer Reports, among other honors.

Oppidan out – Hempel in

Despite a presentation to MSCA less thanMacysRink 2 weeks ago, Oppidan Development is out as a partner to the St. Paul Port Authority’s redevelopment of the vacant Macy’s in downtown St. Paul.  The Port Authority has decided to work with Hempel Companies, saying they just couldn’t reach a deal with Oppidan on a timely basis.

Hempel will have 80% ownership in the project, with the Port Authority retaining 20%, but 50/50 on authority for decision making.   Construction should begin this fall on a practice rink for the Wild.