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Here they are! The first retailers for The Shops at BlueStone!

It's official! They've been announced... that is the first five retailers for the first retail component of Bluestone Commons. If you're a Duluthian, or you've been following cdinduluth for the past year (which hopefully you have been, if not you should), you've heard quite a bit of talk about BlueStone Commons. This is the development that is taking shape at the former site of the Woodland Middle School (and some adjacent land off of Woodland Avenue). It's been in the works for about three years now. The first official component of the development, BlueStone Lofts, a 99 unit, $16 million building, opened this past month and is already 90 percent leased. There are plans for two more additional phases of housing that would bring the total number of residential units in the development to over 250. So now on the the tenants. Are you ready? Here we go.

Oh yes. We know this is one that particularly excites us, although we do love our local coffee brewers too, shout out to Alakef and the Duluth Coffee Company. So, when BlueStone started looking for retailers to fill their retail spaces, we guessed this one from the beginning as we need college students are in constant demand of coffee. Yes, BlueStone will officially welcome Duluth's third Starbucks location this February. Duluth currently has two Starbucks locations, unless you want to count the counter in Barnes & Noble as a third. The company was suppose to construct a new stand alone location as a replacement to the current Miller Hill Mall area location, complete with a drive-thru, in the Hanson Center development that is taking shape at the site of the former Ground Round, but those plans fizzled. As a result of their plans fizzling, the space was made available and the concept of Panera Bread opening was born. We'd don't think that's a bad trade off. However, plans must have been focused on the new BlueStone location this past months which explains why we haven't heard any news on the new Miller Hill location. While some Duluthians are grumbling (not in their stomach) at the fact that another chain coffee shop is opening in Duluth... We beg to differ. If this shop shapes up as we expect it to, you'll see a whole new side to Starbucks that you've never seen before. Since both of the other Duluth locations were constructed, the company has rolled out many new store designs. The new design features create intimate spaces for reading, use a wide variety of woods, metals, and stones, and really just make the place, to sum it up in a single word, look "classy." What's even more exciting is that Starbucks likes to theme locations that are close to universities. For example, if you've ever visited the Starbucks on Washington Avenue near the University of Minnesota, you'll find a 100% Goldy Gopher approved place. We suspect that Starbucks will retrofit their newest Duluth location with mementos and nodes not only to the Duluth area, but especially to the UMD community. Starbucks plans to open in early February 2014.

Northern Communities Credit Union will be opening their third Duluth branch location in the Shops at Bluestone this coming Spring. Currently their Duluth locations are near the intersection of Arrowhead and Arlington and also off of Grand Avenue. The location will feature all the banking needs a student in a financial crisis could need all within walking distance and backed the expertise of a banking savvy company that dates back to 1928! Northern Communities Credit Union also has a Virginia / Mountain Iron location and is open to any person that lives, works, worships, or goes to school within St. Louis County. Northern Communities Credit Union plans to open in April 2014.

It's time for another one! Less than a year after opening their first Twin Ports location on Grand Avenue in Duluth, SportClips is already expanding with a new location set to open this February in the Shops at BlueStone. This shop will be very similar to their current location out on Grand Avenue in Duluth. As mentioned before in our post, SportClips is all about basically what its name describes. Sports..and hair clipping. It's a place geared towards men, but that doesn't mean that women or children are not welcome! Now, that just wouldn't be right. So come this February, make a pit stop after coming home from class. Set your bag on the floor, grab a soda from the fridge, and sit down in one of those comfortable SportClips chairs...because it's time to get those overgrown, luscious winter lochs cut. SportClips plans to open in February 2014.

So the men living at BlueStone Lofts get a shop totally geared towards them, so why don't the women? Well. They do. Introducing Waxing The City, a specialized salon for all your waxing needs! The company begin in Colorado in 2003 in a single room when the founders realized the salon industry was ready for a specialization to occur... and waxing was where it was at! Since then, Waxing The City has grown to 8 locations in Minnesota, Texas, and Colorado. The company currently only has two Minnesota locations; one in Woodbury and another in Maplewood. What is Waxing The City all about? Come on. If you haven't gotten it by now we're a little concerned. Waxing being the key word here.... meaning the company specializes in facial and body waxing. Waxing The City prides themselves on their convenience and affordability, oh yes, and also on a "no tipping policy," which is often unheard of in the salon industry. Obviously that's a good thing for the wallets of college students that will live in close proximity to the salon. It allows them to make "waxing a lifestyle, not a treat" according to their website. Waxing The City provides services on a three tiered price plan pertaining the the experience their cerologist has. And just to let everyone know, Waxing The City provides services for women AND men. No gender exclusion here! Look for Waxing The City to also open in February 2014.

Fro-Yo lovers. Your prayers have finally be answered. Almost two years after it was first announced that Duluth was finally to get a frozen yogurt joint (Cherryberry), Duluth is finally getting a frozen yogurt joint. And in our opinion, it's one of the best. If you've attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in the last two years or if you even have a child that currently attends the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, you've probably heard these two words. Chilly. Billy. For college students at the Minneapolis campus, Chilly Billy's isn't an obsession, it's a way of life. A way of life that is making its way up to Duluth to inspire the thousands of college students to.. oh no.. not study hard, but take on the life of a yogurt connoisseur. What exactly is Chilly Billy's? Well, it's a Minneapolis yogurt shop with a single location in the Dinkytown community. When developers said they wanted to have BlueStone be reminiscent of what the Dinkytown community felt like... well... they hit the nail on the head by introducing a Chilly Billy's into the retail mix. In Dinkytown, it seems as if every pedestrian on the street is walking with a Chilly Billy's cup. Heck, maybe even Goldy himself! The company is NOT a franchise and instead was founded in April 2011and serves the frozen yogurt brand "YoCream," which apparently offers health benefits not found at other yogurt shops. Chilly Billy's has five yogurt machines typically, each with three spouts. The two end spouts produce single flavors, will the middle spout produces a swirl of the two flavors. That means at any given time, a customer has 10 flavor options, or 15 total flavor options with the mixtures! We know what you're thinking. Yum. Once you've dispensed your carefully selected flavors, you can chose from over 50 toppings at the toppings bar. Literally there is every topping your heart could desire. When you're finished creating the one yogurt concoction your stomach has been dreaming about since birth, you pay for it by the ounce. Chilly Billy's will open for business in March 2014... until then, our excitement cannot be contained. AH!

But wait. What about? Oh no. Is not true? But you guys posted about it last week?! WHERE IS THE CHIPOTLE NEWS!

Right here.

While it wasn't officially announced today as the lease was not 100% percent completed, we still feel confident in our news that Chipotle is planning on being the 6th and final component of this first retail phase of BlueStone Commons. Here's why. The Duluth News Tribune themselves reports that a "yet-to-be-revealed restaurant probably offering Mexican food - also will open next year." Now if that isn't a hint... we really don't know what else could be. Well.. actually we do because there was another. If you watch the news clip by WDIO pertaining to the BluesStone development, Mark Lambert is quoted in saying "burrito lovers will be pleased" about the restaurant that fills the sixth and only remaining space. Is that a big enough hint? We don't think it would make sense the Burrito Union would open another location so close to their current location. It also doesn't make sense for a Qdoba to open in Duluth as they are not even currently looking at the market. Needless to say, we still feel confident in our news that Chipotle will be opening in BlueStone Commons in the fall of 2014. We'll keep you updated as always!

And lastly...

Apparently a new restaurant will also be constructed in this phase of the retail components at BlueStone Commons. The restaurant will be a larger sit-down restaurant and could be completed by Summer 2014. What restaurant will specifically open in the new space is not being publicly announced yet. However, a few months ago it was said by the developers that it would be a local restaurant. Any guesses?

As always, be sure to check back to cdinduluth for more updates!

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