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Rainbow Foods/Shops at West End
Northeast corner, Park Place Boulevard & 16th Street, St. Louis Park
Size: 56,000 square feet
Developer: Duke Realty Corp.
Completion: Fall 2009
Details: After months of discussions with officials in St. Louis Park, Milwaukee-based Roundy's Supermarkets Inc. has put forward details about its latest Rainbow Foods grocery store, which is set for Duke Realty's 2.2 million-square-foot West End mixed-use project.
The 56,000-square-foot store at the Shops at West End will be Roundy's flagship property in the Twin Cities, a state-of-the-art "urban shopping experience" with an emphasis on fresh foods. The store will go up against such upscale competitors as Lund's, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, said Pat Mascia, senior vice president of Duke Realty's Twin Cities operations.
Its design will be similar to Roundy's Metro Market concept store in downtown Milwaukee, which features extensive produce, deli and bakery food choices, "pay by touch" finger-scan checkouts, lots of specialty foods, a coffee shop and free Wi-Fi Internet access.
Roundy's operates 152 grocery stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota under the Pick'n Save, Copps Food Center and Rainbow Foods brands and had discussed other locations for the Metro Market concept. But the original Milwaukee store remains the only one. Instead of introducing the brand in Minnesota, it opted to upgrade many of its existing Rainbow stores and replace others. Most recently, Roundy's tore down a dated Rainbow Foods in Roseville and built a new one, which opened on the same site in early October.
Introducing a new grocery brand would be a real challenge in tough economic times, especially in the western suburbs, where competition is steep: Trader Joe's has a relatively new store at Excelsior & Grand elsewhere in St. Louis Park, and the city also sports a Byerly's store a bit further south along Hwy. 100.
Meg McGonigal, planning and zoning supervisor for the city, said the project has taken four years of hard work.
"Our challenges were making a compact urban environment, making pedestrian and bicycle access, and having a mix of uses and having a gathering space," she said. "The developers were very good. We met at least once a week for a couple of years."
Mascia said the new Rainbow will be the anchor of West End's retail section, the Shops at West End, which will also include about 30,000 square feet of second-floor office space as well as shops and restaurants that, along with a 16-screen Kerasotes ShowPlace Theatre, will aim to turn the area into an entertainment destination.
"We want this to be the premier entertainment, dining and retail destination in the Twin Cities outside of Mall of America, and we're making great progress toward that goal," he said.
Anne Bretts is a freelance writer based in Northfield. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.