Chambers unveils ice bar

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January 1, 2007 // UPDATED 10:57 am - April 26, 2007
By: Michelle Bruch
Michelle Bruch

Hennepin Avenue

The outdoor courtyard at the Chambers Hotel, 901 Hennepin Ave., has a new addition this winter — a 256-square-foot “ice bar,” resembling a giant ice cube.

According to hotel staff, guests enter the Ice Chamber through translucent sliding doors to approach the bar constructed with more than 12,000 pounds of ice. Lights are frozen into blocks of ice weighing 300 pounds, and the space is lit by a chandelier and candles.

The Ice Chamber’s ambience will also feature dry ice (needed to cool the space during the mild winter thus far) and ice sculptures.

The ice bar is open after 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Mar. 31, weather permitting.

North Loop

A new fitness center called North Loop Fitness is set to open Jan. 2 on Washington Avenue.

Co-owner Rob Duggan said the owners are constructing the 5,500-square-foot space in an old, industrial style.

The gym will feature cardio equipment including treadmills, elliptical machines and bikes, as well as a full free-weight section. Duggan said the doors will remain open so passersby can check out the space on 800 Washington Ave. N. that includes climbing ropes and chains hanging from the ceiling for pull-ups.

“This area is in need of a privately owned, 24-hour fitness center that caters to the people who live here,” Duggan said. “I believe it will be a huge hit.”

The gym will offer personal training and tanning, and the 24-hour gym is accessible through fingerprint access.

Central Business District

Broadway Pizza is coming to the Gaviidae food court, located on the fourth level of the shopping center

Owner Chris Benedict said the shop is slated to open early this year in the space formerly occupied by Villa Pizza.

“It seemed as if the food court was missing a pizza option,” Benedict said.

He said the restaurant will feature pizza by-the-slice and made-to-order salads that are separately tossed with dressing for each patron.

Hours of operation will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

Nicollet Mall

A survey conducted by marketing professors at the University of St. Thomas indicated that 21 percent of those surveyed plan to shop at Macy’s less or much less than they did last year, when it was Marshall Field’s.

On average, those customers have significantly more negative views of Macy’s merchandise and quality than people who don’t shop at Macy’s at all, according to the study.

The researchers said, on the other hand, people who do not shop at Macy’s have more negative perceptions of the store’s prices than those who are unenthusiastic Macy’s shoppers.

The Dayton’s department store at 700 Nicollet Mall switched to the Marshall Field’s name in 2001, and converted into Macy’s this fall. The latest name change occurred with more dramatic changes to merchandise than did the earlier change, the study noted.

The survey was conducted during the fall, when the brand was shifting to Macy’s here. The questions about Macy’s were contained in a broader survey on predicted holiday spending, distributed to 3,000 Twin Cities-area households between October and Nov. 3. The researchers received 254 completed and usable surveys.

Macy’s spokesman Jennifer McNamara pointed to tens of thousands lined up at the store’s opening and at holiday shows as evidence of continued traffic through the store.

“What we found is that the majority of those who visited were pleasantly surprised,” McNamara said. “This is the beginning of the transition. ... We have significantly improved the store experience.”

McNamara also referenced a study by Deloitte Development LLC, in which she said 85 percent of respondents found that Macy’s stayed the same or improved. The study reported that 35 percent of Twin Cities shoppers said they plan to shop the same amount or more often at the new Macy’s, and 12 percent approve of the name change.