The retail winds continue to swirl around the corner of 57th Avenue Northeast and Labeaux Avenue Northeast (County Road 19) as yet another business in that area calls it quits.
Bravo Dance Company, which opened just a year ago, announced to parents and members last week that it will be closing its doors after rent negotiations with a the current company went south, and a workable number for the business could not be reached. Owner Emily Gilmore made the announcement via e-mails, obtained by North Wright County Today, prior to fall registration.
That’s been a common theme for the area, which boasts some mainstays like Papa Murphy’s, Health Source Chiropractic and Sprint today. But some shops such as Ranch Grande, Quizno’s and the Party Store have all come and gone due to high rent and taxes in the area.
“It’s something we, as a city, are aware of, but there’s not much we can do to play a role in stabilizing it,” said City Administrator Adam Nafstad. “You hope the business climate really settles down in that area and some establishments can really make a go of it, but it’s a sign that things are recovering, but aren’t really all the way back yet.”
Commercial Realtor Sheila Zachman, who represents CRS Commercial, agreed, saying the market is coming back, but it is slow. Tenants are looking to fill in vacancies in the metro area first. As the number of roof tops continue to increase, then commercial real estate will follow..
“You’ll often see annual rent increases of 2 to 3 percent, which can be difficult for new start up businesses,” Zachman said.
As for attracting new, stable retail, that goes hand-in-hand with the housing market, both Nafstad and Zachman said. St. Michael Community Development Director Marc Wiegle, who has had to tackle his own “trouble spot” with the former theater site and the empty retail pads near Kwik Trip, said more new rooftops would draw more retail interest.
While that’s happening in St. Michael – D.R. Horton’s Cascade Development will open its model home in September – Albertville is nearly built out, Nafstad said. Existing rental space has to be a priority.
Building ownership could be an issue as well. Ownership of the buildings housing Sherwin Williams paint and places like Goin’ Postal and Little Caesar’s has been steady, while the other buildings are currently coming out of receivership and will be put on sale for new owners.
“A new owner could be a good thing for that area,” Nafstad added. “You hope, as a city, that every business can make a go of it.”