The Apple store in Uptown will close permanently, the latest in a growing list of shops and restaurants that have recently abandoned the beleaguered south Minneapolis retail center.
Apple has had a presence near the bustling corner of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street for the past decade. It informed its approximately 60 employees Wednesday that the store would close.
The store had yet to reopen since March when the state’s stay-at-home orders to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic forced many retail establishments to temporarily shutter. Following the killing of George Floyd in May, the Apple store was one of nearly 40 businesses near the corner that was damaged by rioters.
While the damage did accelerate the timing of the closure, Apple was already in discussions to close the store before the pandemic and the riots, the company said.
“Our stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area have served customers for 19 years, and our nearly 500 team members look forward to helping our customers for a long, long time,” Apple said Thursday in a statement. “Though we’ve made the difficult decision to permanently close Apple Uptown, all of our valued team members will be offered other positions within Apple and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers at our four nearby stores.”
Early last year, neighbors Columbia Sportswear and North Face shut their doors following the departure of Victoria’s Secret the year before. Canadian outerwear company Arc’teryx left last fall. The Urban Outfitters store has also been listed for possible sale or lease.
Restaurants haven’t fared much better. The popular Sushi Tango across the street from Apple in Calhoun Square recently decided not to renew its lease due to COVID-19. Another restaurant tenant, Fig + Farro, closed in May.
Chicago-based Northpond Partners, owner of Calhoun Square, plans to rename the struggling center Seven Points and undergo a multimillion-dollar makeover to revamp the center and convert parts into offices and possibly apartments.
Scott Engel, executive coordinator of the South Uptown Neighborhood Association, said the retail decline in Uptown isn’t different from what is happening in other cities across the country.
“I think folks are discouraged over the closures of all these stores. [But] I don’t think it’s just Uptown per se. It’s happening everywhere,” Engel said Thursday.
As some of the large chains leave the area, Engel said he would like to see more local businesses that would service the residents in the neighborhood move in.
“Uptown really has a lot of the ingredients to make for an excellent, vibrant community.”