The Saks store in Gaviidae Common, 655 Nicollet Mall, will close January 2015. Another Off 5th is opening in Eagan this fall at Twin Cities Premium Outlets.
Tiffany Bourre, director of external communications for Hudson Bay Company, which owns Saks Inc., said the retailer is "actively looking for opportunities to reopen a location in downtown Minneapolis and we will continue to serve Minneapolis customers through saksoff5th.com."
Sources have told Black that United Properties is working on a deal to bring one of Walgreens new high-end, flagship stores to Saks’ former space.
The Deerfield, Ill.-based pharmacy chain has rolled out more than a dozen flagship stores in cities across the country, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Chicago. The decked-out stores feature chandeliers, high-end cosmetics and beauty consultants.
Saks Fifth Avenue closed in Gaviidae in 2004, but kept the Off 5th store, which sells discounted Saks’ items.
Minneapolis Downtown Council CEO Steve Cramer said a new retailer for the site should complement the new vision for Nicollet Mall.
“As the new Nicollet Mall is built, the corner of 7th and Nicollet will be a premier location,” he said. “I think as a community we should expect a retail development at that location which is engaging, street and pedestrian friendly and worth of the investment being made to revitalize the mall.”
Andrea Christenson, a vice president at Cassidy Turley and an expert on the downtown retail scene, said she doubts Walgreens will draw more people to downtown.
"It is disappointing that we couldn’t get a retailer who would bring people downtown to shop," she said. "Walgreens won’t generate any new traffic. It will feed on the existing traffic. Having said that it is good to have the space backfilled and the lights on and the skyway open."
City Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3) said Saks' pending closure is another sign of the changing retail trends downtown. He said he'd like to see Gaviidae reach out to smaller, locally owned retailers for leases in the shopping complex.
He noted that independent boutiques in the North Loop have been successful catering to shoppers looking for a more unique shopping experience than they can find in a national chain store.