BSM faces changes due to the addition of new businesses at West End

As+of+2013%2C+West+End+leasing+space+is+at+82%25+capacity+with+up+to+40+stores+and+restaurants+in+place.

Megan Beh

As of 2013, West End leasing space is at 82% capacity with up to 40 stores and restaurants in place.

Mary Pat Ross, Staff Writer

Cool restaurants, great shops, and fun atmosphere have made West End a regular hangout spot for many members of the BSM community. Due to its success, West End plans on expanding on its shops and businesses in order to cater to the demand of its ever-expanding consumer base.

The development of West End has been a long and steady process. “We really started planning the West End project in July 2004. We wanted to have mixed uses for West End. We finished West End in September 2009,” Pat Mascia, Senior Vice President Minneapolis St. Paul Operations Duke Realty, said.

Thus far, BSM has always supported West End development. “Many of our students and staff use the restaurants and shops, and they have also created employment opportunities for our students. They have also helped us when we had parking emergencies,” said Dr. Bob Tift, President of BSM.

Due to the success West End has had since its opening, there are many new exciting ventures in store for West End. “I can tell you we have three leases in place for new businesses that will open shortly. One is Forever Yogurt. One is Francesca’s. The other one is Minq… a women’s upscale fashion boutique. We are working on a seafood restaurant along with another fun restaurant and an entertainment venue,” Mascia said.

Among the new additions is Haute Barre, a dynamic fitness experience that offers customers a full body workout through a combination of ballet barre movements, yoga and core strength training. Developed by Nancy Norby, a master barre teacher, the Haute Barre officially opened for business Saturday, April 20. Haute Barre offers a number of different classes, all taught by trained instructors.

Amid all the new enterainment opening up, West End doesn’t want to limit itself to just shops and restaurants. “We always wanted to build a bunch of office build- ings but wanted to have amenities for the office park. We now have 4 Class A office buildings planned and hope to [add them] whenever the market allows us to build of- fice buildings again. We are hoping to land a big corporate campus on this site. Someone that would use 500,000 square feet. We would build two buildings,” Mascia said.

The implementation of these office buildings includes plans adding 1.3 million square feet of office space in the large lot near Olive Garden. It is anticipated that traffic will significantly increase on the frontage road. It is a concern for some that traffic will be mitigated in the next few years when they complete the new con- struction project on Highway 100.

Dr. Bob Tift is concerned about the ripple effects these changes will have on BSM. “We have noticed that the traffic on the frontage road along Highway 100 is busier since the West End opened. New additions at West End will negatively im- pact traffic, but I believe new the layout of Highway 100 will be positive,” said Dr. Tift.

But Minneapolis St. Paul Operations Duke Realty ensures that construction will not result in any increase in traffic. “We did all types of traffic studies. Park Place Boulevard improvements were made and we plan on doubling the size of Utica Avenue. All this is being done to handle and accommodate the traffic those buildings will generate. Most is in place now. The DOT rebuilt Highway 394 and put the bridge and exits in at Xenia. They did it assuming that there would be office sites on this location,” Mascia said.

The Shops at West End is located at the intersection of Interstate 394 and Highway 100 in St. Louis Park. There are 40 stores and restaurants in place now, including ShowPlace Icon Theatres, Crave, Cooper’s, Rojo Mexican Grill, Figlio, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Anthropologie, Parmida Home, Hot Mama and a Rainbow Foods grocery store. As of 2013, West End leasing space is at an 82 percent capacity.