Rochester's Barlow Plaza undergoing $5 million in 'overdue' improvements
Barlow Plaza is about to get a much-needed makeover.
Work began this week on a $5 million redevelopment of the shopping center. The project will include extensive updates to the facades, landscaping and parking lot. Among the notable improvements: Upgraded planters and lighting, new bike lanes and bike racks, and expanded sidewalks with outdoor seating.
"It will have a more contemporary look and give retailers a more distinctive identity," said John Breitinger, of Minneapolis-based Cushman & Wakefield/ Northmarq. The company took over management of the property last year.
The shopping center, located just north of downtown at the intersection of Civic Center Drive and 11th Avenue NW, is owned by Steve Barlow and anchored by Hy-Vee. The project is the first major rehab in the plaza's 34-year history.
With its highly-visible location, Breitinger said Barlow Plaza has the potential to be the "premier neighborhood shopping center in Rochester." The plaza has been "under-managed" for years and this "overdue renovation" will help fulfill its potential, he added. Current occupancy is now at 86 percent.
As part of the renovations, some storefronts will also start facing the 16th Avenue side of the center. This will make shopping more convenient for customers to stop in and out of businesses, said Breitinger.
Mega Express Laundry will move from its current spot near Civic Center to the main portion of the shopping center. This will open up a spot for what could be a "high-profile destination restaurant." Renovations will also be made to the sidewalk area just north of the Hy-Vee liquor store. Plans call for a "more inviting atmosphere" with room for seating.
Management expects the center to be fully-leased by the end of the 8-month renovation (expected timeline). While Breitinger declined to mention any specific names, he said proposals have been sent out to multiple businesses.
The project is being financed entirely with private money.
(Cover: Rendering / Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq)