The Twin Cities leads the nation in construction of new retail projects, according to a national report released this week by Colliers International.
No, it’s not the expansion of the Mall of America in Bloomington that pushed the area off the charts. It’s largely a $100 million outlet mall under construction in Eagan — just a short hop away from the nation’s biggest shopping mall.
Baltimore-based Paragon Outlet Partners is building the outlet mall, with six buildings housing more than 100 shops, including upscale stalwarts Coach, J. Crew, Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren — one of the few outlet malls nationwide to be located in a metropolitan area.
Construction is “well underway” on Paragon’s 400,000-plus-square-foot mall, expected to open next August, said Jon Hohenstein, Eagan’s director of community development.
“Paragon was looking for opportunities in Minnesota, and we were ready for the opportunity,” he said. The outlet mall is part of the city’s Cedar Grove redevelopment area at Cedar Avenue S. and Hwy. 13.
But beyond the outlet mega-project, Colliers Senior Associate Sara Martin says square footage surged locally in part because of the apartment boom here, whether it’s upscale digs targeting millennials and baby boomers, or student housing. “Many of the cities are requiring a retail component on these projects,” she said.
She expects the retail construction trend to continue in the near term.
“In the inner-ring suburbs there’s very little retail space available, so when you see that kind of pent-up demand, you’ll see more construction,” Martin said.
Nationally, construction of strip malls and neighborhood centers is slow.
In the U.S. markets tracked by Colliers, only 719,814 square feet of new shopping center space was built in the second quarter of 2013, although another 7.3 million square feet is under construction. The Twin Cities leads the nation with 1.2 million square feet under construction and 85,036 square feet delivered in the first half of 2013, the report said.