Neighborhood shopping centers continue to evolve in Minneapolis-St. Paul area

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Long a workhorse of retail real estate, most neighborhood shopping centers in the Twin Cities are thriving as the economy perks up.

“Over the years you’ve seen a lot of uses come and go,” in neighborhood centers, said Dave Brennan, a professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas. “Video stores? Well, they’re toast now. It’s a constant evolution.”

Still, some neighborhood centers didn’t survive the economic downturn gracefully. As consumers cut back on services such as manicures and dry cleaning, some small shops shuttered, and even some grocery stores retrenched. In some cases the traditional grocery anchor has been replaced by mega-drugstores such as CVS and Walgreens that serve as de facto convenience stores by selling basic foodstuffs.

The centers that did survive were likely located “in higher-potential locations on major highways and arterial roads,” said Brennan, who is also co-director of St. Thomas’ Institute for Retail Excellence. Others have been repurposed into offices, particularly medical offices, or even torn down for other kinds of development.


Originally published: 04/14/2013, Star Tribune