With more than 2,300 new apartments in downtown Minneapolis that have recently opened or soon will, residents now have a new furniture and home-furnishings store in their backyard.
On Thursday, West Elm, a sibling of the Williams-Sonoma brand, opens its 112th store in North America at 128 N. 2nd St. in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood. The retailer is on the ground floor of Second + Second, a new apartment complex under construction with 158 units above the West Elm store.
“North Loop has a great balance of established urbanites as well as a huge percentage of millennials and university students across the river,” said Hannah Wickberg, West Elm spokeswoman. “We prefer to be on the corner in the middle of a thriving neighborhood rather than in a mall.”
The 11,000-square-foot store is slightly smaller than the Shops at Centennial Lakes location in Edina, which opened in 2008.
To fit the neighborhood, the Minneapolis store will offer a slightly different mix from the Edina store, Wickberg said. Smaller-scale sofas and lots of storage options will be highlighted. All of the West Elm stores feature accessible price points, similar to CB2 in Uptown, that are below Crate & Barrel’s and above Target’s.
One resident was happy to see West Elm join the neighborhood but expressed parking concerns.
“It’s good to see a new store, but I worry about where customers will park unless they already live in the neighborhood,” said 20-year North Loop resident Leann Britton.
West Elm will have pickup spaces outside its front door, along with on-street parking and a large nearby ramp at 25 N. 1st St. The owners of Martin Patrick 3 men’s and home furnishings in the North Loop added valet parking last year to allay complaints from customers about parking difficulties.
Rosie Rosenthal, owner of Rosenthal Interiors, a furniture store near Target Center that has been downtown for more than 100 years, said she’s glad to see a national furniture retailer added to the downtown mix.
“West Elm will be a good draw for customers downtown,” she said. “They’re well-known for their contemporary look.”
Other home-furnishings retailers in the downtown area include Abitare Design Studio, International Market Square, Hirshfield’s Design Resource and Designer Marketplace.
Williams-Sonoma plans to open about seven new West Elm stores in the U.S. this year, including one in Tucson, Ariz. No additional Twin Cities locations are in the works, Wickberg said.
In 2016, the company announced plans for six boutique hotels, including one in the North Loop, but none have been built. The company is currently in litigation with DDK, which was originally going to be West Elm’s partner in the hotels.
Last year, the North Loop neighborhood added more than a dozen new shops, restaurants, coffee shops and service businesses. The Fillmore concert hall just opened. AxeBridge winery and Madewell denim, a division of J. Crew, open in the spring.
West Elm was founded in 2002 as part of Williams-Sonoma, which also owns Pottery Barn, Mark & Graham gifts and accessories, and Rejuvenation lighting.