Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Sports Authority will open at City Center in downtown Minneapolis. And thank goodness, because I’ve been hoping to buy a snowboard on my lunch hour and schlep it home on the light rail.
Of course any new store is a good thing, and City Center is on a hot streak, having just signed Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th as well. Sports Authority does have city stores in Chicago and New York. But then, those are markets that have more of everything than downtown Minneapolis. For our beleaguered downtown shopping district, and the Twin Cities' suburban shopping orientation, it doesn't strike me as the most obvious fit.
We need stores that will draw people downtown. No one from the suburbs is going to come to the city when they can already hit Sports Authority at a nearby strip center. Perhaps they’ll stop in for a jersey or hat before a Twins or Vikings game. And I’m sure massive amounts of fan merchandise will be sold when the Super Bowl and Final Four come to town in the next few years. But is that enough?
We need stores that cater to downtown dwellers and workers. They might find Sports Authority convenient—there is a lot of exercise that happens in the city. But are they buying canoes? And again, is that enough?
We also need stores to entertain, impress, and attract out of town visitors—to complement the restaurants and theaters and Fortune 500 companies that thrive in the Twin Cities. Again, those visitors, for leisure or business, aren’t coming to Minneapolis for Sports Authority. They have it at their home strip center, too. And no one buys sports socks as a vacation souvenir.
Sports Authority will occupy 21,877 square feet on the ground floor of City Center, on the Nicollet Mall and Seventh Street side of the building. It is scheduled to open in fall 2015.