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North Minneapolis needs to lure retailers back

Nick Halter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

North Minneapolis is losing Aldi and Walgreens for very different reasons, but no matter the cause, the community needs retailers to return.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of people relied on these stores for groceries and medicine. While there are still some stores within a couple miles, like Cub Foods and Hy-Vee, getting essentials becomes more of a challenge for people without a car.

What's happening: Aldi closed its store at Lowry and Penn avenues on Sunday. The Walgreens located at Broadway and Lyndale avenues is set to close Feb. 22.

Details: Aldi said the North Minneapolis space wasn't big enough for its product mix and it had an expiring lease. The landlord of the store, David Wellington, told Sahan Journal that he's already talked to a couple grocers who are interested in the space.

State of play: D'Angelos Svenkeson, CEO of real estate firm NEOO Partners, cited cell phone data showing that Aldi's traffic has been strong.

Yes, but: Its traffic is in the bottom 20% of the Germany-based retailer's stores in the United States, he said.

What they're saying: "They made a corporate decision that is very unfortunately going to harm a lot of residents in that community in the short term," Svenkeson said.

  • But he believes a local grocer who understands the fresh food needs of North Minneapolis will have success in the space.

Of note: Walgreens didn't provide as much specific reasoning for closing its store, but Svenkeson noted the company has been more focused on its small format stores (the Broadway one is large).

  • West Broadway Business and Area Coalition executive director Kristel Porter told Fox 9 that the pharmacy's closure was related to security problems. Police have responded to 22 calls already this year related to disturbances, thefts, drug activity and other reasons.

What we're watching: There are plenty of reasons for retailers to be interested in North Minneapolis. Hundreds of apartments are in the pipeline for West Broadway and the riverfront.

  • Hundreds of units means thousands more potential customers.


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