Sunday, May 18, 2008

Three Properties For Which I'd Like to Choose Tenants

As I make my way through the South Lake Minnetonka area, I invariably see commercial properties turning over or being developed. It is hard not to wonder what types of businesses would do well in those vacant storefronts. So here, with absolutely no bearing on what will actually happen to these buildings, is what I would do if I could snap my fingers and fill the storefronts:

1. Excelsior, corner of 3rd and Water (old Color Center building): The shop that moved in for just a few months has relocated across the street, leaving this building empty. I'm not sure what drove this decision, but I have an idea for how to refill the building. This location would make the perfect D'Amico and Sons Deli. I love that I can get fine Italian, Sushi, and an Irish entree with a pint in Excelsior, but I need more takeout options. 318 does a splendid job, but I find myself picking up food in Chan or Minnetonka when I'm in the mood for something different. A D'Amico in town would mean I bring more of that business back to Excelsior. (Author's note: I would also be able to snap my fingers and solve the parking ratio issue that could make this type of occupancy difficult under current rules).

2. Shorewood, strip mall along Hwy 7 near Holiday (former Minnetonka Outdoors): The operators of the well-run fishing store that used to inhabit this location were excellent. I just think that the location wasn't right for fishermen. If you think about it, there was no boat launch onto Minnetonka in the area, so they had to mainly rely on locals for all the business. They were onto something, however: Sports. Just change the focus from fishing to more of a sporting goods store -- running shoes, soccer gear, workout gear, hockey and baseball equipment, and you'd have good traffic. Right now, to buy a pair of non-Target workout shorts, I have to go to a mall. I'd rather keep that business in Shorewood. With the number of school-aged atheletes in the immediate area, and how active the area people tend to be, I think it would do well.

3. Deephaven, that brand new building going up at Chowen's Corner (the hard curve on Minnetonka Blvd): This one seems like a no-brainer -- the highly successful and always packed Beanhaven Cafe, in need of about 30 more seats, could be relocated just down the street and use the first floor of this new building. It would be the same neighborhood, so nobody would be put off when they realized their favorite breakfast joint had moved, because it would have only moved 1/2 a block. Some would argue that the smallish nature of the current cafe adds to its ambience. I say it would still have great, independent, single-proprieter ambience if it had 30 more seats.

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