Developer working to land CVS Pharmacy for Washington Avenue

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February 12, 2007 // UPDATED 11:01 am - April 26, 2007
By: Michelle Bruch
Michelle Bruch

Mill District

Sherman Associates is negotiating with CVS Pharmacy to occupy Washington Avenue frontage space at the 201 Park project, the development team said last week.

The developer said CVS is the only known tenant willing to anchor the commercial building without varying from the area’s historic standards and without asking for more than 20 guaranteed parking spaces.

George Sherman, president of Sherman Associates, said prior talks with grocer Trader Joe’s fell through because of parking constraints. He said the adjacent Mill Quarter Municipal Ramp cannot contain spaces designated for “private” retail use because the ramp was built with public financing. Consequently, Sherman Associates cannot guarantee a retailer that parking will be available in the ramp. Three levels of parking below 201 Park will be constructed for office use, Sherman said, and the cost of constructing underground parking at the contaminated site could not be recouped with retail parking space.

Sherman said three floors of office space above one ground floor of retail would likely include a 10,000-square-foot clinic and office space for LHB Architects.

Sherman Associates has contacted more than a dozen retailers regarding the site. Pursued retailers include Blu Dot, Caf/ Latte, California Closets, Cooks of Crocus Hill, Cos“ Restaurant, Dean and Deluca, Design Within Reach, Dunn Bros, eq Life, FedEx Kinko’s, Frattalone’s Ace Hardware, Panera Bread, PostNet, Pottery Barn, Walker Museum Shop, Wild Oats, Williams-Sonoma and Wuollet’s Bakery.

“We have to pick tenants that will stay open and pay the rent,” Sherman said. “We’ve seen other projects struggle.”

Rob Kost, a Sherman Associates commercial leasing manager and project manager, said they have received inquiries from tenants with “evening-type activity,” but the development team considers nightclubs to be a risky proposition.

Sherman Associates said 201 Park will be certified through Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

Retail tenants of the Zenith project, another Sherman Associates project at 900 Washington Ave. S., will likely include a Starbucks and a spa, Sherman said.

Central Business District

Foshay Barbers is relocating from the Foshay Tower into the Investors building at 733 Marquette Ave.

Chuck Howard, a partner with Equity Commercial Services, said the barbershop is moving into a longtime vacant space on the first level of the building in suite 126, located around the corner from the post office.

Foshay Barbers moved out of the Foshay Tower due to the renovation of the tower into a W Hotel.

The barber shop is expected to reopen by March 1.

Hennepin Avenue

Customers of Shinders at 8th Street and Hennepin Avenue need not worry that the late arrival of daily papers means the retailer is going out of business.

Shinders representative Tara Johnson said the company is restructuring and cutting down on the number of vendors it uses. She said the same products will continue to appear on the shelves, but the transition may take time to run smoothly.

The Shinders building at 733 Hennepin Ave. is for sale.

Eugene Heck, owner of the building, said Shinders’ lease expires in June this year. He said the future use of the building would be at the discretion of the buyer.

“It would be suitable for condominiums, and it would be a good location for a restaurant,” he said.

Ken Floberg of Thorpe Real Estate said there is interest in the building, but it is not yet sold.

Nicollet Island

The Nicollet Island Inn is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

The building was originally constructed in 1893 as the Island Sash & Door Co. In 1913, the building became a Salvation Army men’s shelter and served as such for 60 years.

The building was renovated into the Nicollet Island Inn in 1982, and further renovations and restoration work began in 2004. Renovations have so far extended to the guest rooms, dining room and banquet facilities. A new entryway and wall treatments are set for completion this spring.

The Nicollet Island Inn offers a new menu by Chef Erick Harcey, featuring more casual, moderately priced items.