A longtime merchant on S. Robert Street in West St. Paul is leaving, displaced by the city's plans to reconstruct the prime commercial corridor.

The Spectacle Shoppe, an eyewear store that has operated at 943 S. Robert since 1982, will be closing this summer, owner David Ulrich said. The city has offered to pay Ulrich $510,000 to acquire the property and pay relocation expenses.

Ulrich, who acquired the eyewear designer and retailer in 1997, said he will move the shop to a building he is buying in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. The Spectacle Shoppe also has outlets in Burnsville, St. Paul, New Brighton and Rogers.

"I hate leaving West St. Paul," Ulrich said. "We're doing great business there. But I really don't have much choice." He said he was unable to come to terms with the city on an agreement that would have allowed him to relocate to another West St. Paul location.

Community development director Jim Hartshorn said Ulrich was shown sites close to his current location. "We tried to keep him," Hartshorn said.

Earlier this year, the city said it had spent more than $2.5 million to acquire properties on and near S. Robert as part of its ongoing efforts to upgrade the street.

New retail center for Apple Valley

Minnetonka-based Oppidan Investment Co. recently began construction on a 7,500-square-foot retail development at 15350 Cedar Av. in Apple Valley. The multi-tenant development is on a one-acre lot Oppidan purchased from Supervalu this year. Tenants will include SmashBurger, Sport Clips, Which Wich and Yogurt Lab.

Construction is expected to conclude in September, and tenants are expected to open for business before the end of the year.

Game shop opens in South St. Paul

Southview Shopping Center in South St. Paul continues to make progress filling the space that went vacant when longtime tenant Snyder Drug went out of business about three years ago.

The shopping center at Southview Boulevard and 13th Avenue recently added Level Up Games as a tenant in some of the former Snyder Drug space. The business buys, sells and trades used games, movies and music.

The addition of Level Up Games brings occupancy at the 56,000-square-foot center to 90 percent, said Jessica Peterson, a marketing assistant for the mall's owner, St. Paul-based Paster Enterprises.

Some of the former Snyder's space is occupied by Anytime Fitness. The remaining 5,700 square feet is being marketed for one or two tenants, Peterson said.

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