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November 22, 2004 // UPDATED 4:44 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Central Business District
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Once Famous, a home furnishings store in the skyway level of One Financial Place, 120 S. 6th St., is closing at the end of November.

The store is a retail lab located within Fame, the retail brand agency. The agency works for several large corporations, including Target Corp., 3M and Best Buy.

At first blush, Once Famous resembles a typical store. It's more than a store, however. The retailer is outfitted with microphones that allow Fame clients to gather observations on consumer buying behavior.

For the rest of November, Once Famous is selling a selection of merchandize at 50 to 60 percent discounts.

For more information on Fame, go to www.fameretail.com.

-- Sarah McKenzie

Entertainment District

First Avenue, 701 1st Ave. N., was set to reopen Nov. 19 after a nearly three-week hiatus.

The legendary music venue closed Nov. 2 after the club's founder Allan Fingerhut filed for bankruptcy. First Avenue's owners evicted Fingerhut for unpaid rent and taxes.

The club's former managers Steve McClellan and Jack Meyers are now in control of the nightclub. Under an agreement approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Nov. 12, McClellan and Meyers received the club's assets, including the keys, the club's liquor license and the club's coveted name.

The new management team has also submitted paperwork to the city to renew the club's liquor license set to expire Dec. 31, McClellan said.

The heavy metal band Gwar was scheduled to perform Nov. 19 and the Texas rock band Los Lonely Boys on Nov. 20. Urge Overkill is booked for Wednesday, Nov. 24.

McClellan said the club's schedule will remain relatively light until the new management works through the logistical hurdles involved in reopening the club. "We're trying to do as many [things] as we can," he said.

McClellan said the club is also in the process of rehiring many of the 120 employees who were laid off when the club closed earlier this month.

For more information and concert schedules, go to www.first-avenue.com.

-- Sarah McKenzie

Central Business District

A new Nextel Communications store is opening in the City Center mid-December.

The store will open in the skyway level of the shopping complex at 615 Hennepin Ave. S., said Betsy Buckley, a spokeswoman for Brookfield Properties, which manages City Center.

Nextel Communications, based in Reston, Va., is a major wireless service provider for Fortune 500 companies. Nextel provides a range of communications offerings, including digital cellular and digital "walkie talkie" services that allow customers to communicate with colleagues, friends and relatives without making telephone calls.

Rapid Wireless, another Nextel Communications provider, recently opened in the Midwest Plaza building, 801 Nicollet Mall.

-- Sarah McKenzie

Central Business District

The City Council's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee has approved the Pressbox Bar & Grill for a Class B liquor license and an expanded sidewalk caf/ area.

The Committee approved the license request for the new 328 S. 3rd St. restaurant at its Nov. 10 meeting. The full Council is expected to review the license application at its Nov. 19 meeting, after this issue of Skyway News goes to press.

The Pressbox is in the old Harry's Restaurant & Lounge Space. The sports bar is outfitted with several flat-screen plasma TVs. The menu includes pastas, steak sandwiches and Mexican dishes.

The restaurant is open daily, 7 p.m.-2 a.m.

-- Sarah McKenzie

Central Business District

City Center's Payless ShoeSource, 615 Hennepin Ave. S., is closing at the end of November.

Betsy Buckley, a spokeswoman for Brookfield Properties, which manages City Center, said a new tenant has not been lined up to replace the store.

The shopping center, which has seen several store closings in recent months, is undergoing a major renovation expected to be complete by fall 2005.

The Payless closing is not related to City Center's renovations. The Topeka, Kan.-based chain is undergoing a major restructuring. The City Center store is among 50 Payless stores closing nationwide, according to a recent Associated Press report.

Payless ShoeSource, Inc. operates more than 4,640 stores nationwide.

-- Sarah McKenzie