Pacifica Square could be spark for troubled mall
Plans for an Asian-themed supermarket and food hall at Burnsville Center were unveiled May 18, raising hopes the addition could help spark a turnaround for the troubled mall.
The 60,000-square-foot project in the former Gordmans space will include Asian grocer Enson Market, which has 20 U.S. locations, and restaurants with flavors from Vietnam, Japan, China, Korea and Brazil.
Called Pacifica Square Burnsville, the project is being developed by partners including Illinois-based Windfall Group, which built what it calls “the largest Asian lifestyle shopping center in the U.S.” in Aurora, Illinois.
Pacifica Square Burnsville LLC bought the ground-floor Gordmans space as well as second-floor retailers Dick’s Sporting Goods, Panera Bread and Kirkland’s Home, which remain as tenants. Published reports said the investors paid $10.6 million for what Windfall Group architect Cristal Z. Hayes said is 150,000 square feet of building space.
A new pedestrian bridge will connect upper-level stores and dining areas with the grocery store and food hall, according to Pacifica Square Burnsville LLC.
“Hopefully, we can make the rest of the mall to thriving with us,” Hayes told a crowd of civic boosters, Pacifica Square officials and participating restaurant representatives during a May 18 kickoff event in the gutted Gordmans space. “We’ll bring in a lot of the foot traffic from all over Minnesota.”
With Pacifica Square Burnsville, “we are on the way to achieving” the city’s redevelopment vision for the 44-year-old mall and surrounding County Road 42 retail area, said Mayor Elizabeth Kautz.
The city’s Center Village plan — a response to the vacancy-plagued mall’s fortunes and changes in retailing — calls for mixed-use redevelopment, including housing, with millions in road and street improvements and tax-increment financing authority for infrastructure and development incentives.
Pacifica Square Burnsville will also up the city’s cultural game, the mayor told the audience.
“Burnsville is an international community full of friends and neighbors from around the globe,” Kautz said. “Pacifica Square of Burnsville will expand and enhance the diverse options for food and culture, which benefits our entire community.”
The event included ceremonial signings of letters of intent to lease space in the food hall. In addition to Enson Market, expected tenants are:
Bullvino’s (Brazilian steakhouse), Mango Mango (blended fruit drinks and desserts), Pho2 (Vietnamese), Chatime (Taiwanese teahouse), Tours Les Jours (French-Asian-inspired South Korean bakery), Bonchon (Korean fried chicken), Lu’s Sandwiches (Vietnamese sandwiches) and Teriyaki King.
Bullvino’s will be the “signature restaurant,” Hayes said. Plans include an outdoor-dining space on the upper level. A building extension will connect the two levels, she said.
“The new extension will transform the facade of this place,” she said. “We’ll build outdoor stairs to bring people from the upper floor down to this level. We’ll still have plenty of parking, but we will bring outdoor dining to this place and we will bring new life to this place.”
The market is prime, Hayes said. Within a 30-minute driving radius is a population of 1.8 million — 8.8% of them Asian, she said. Annual income exceeds $75,000 in 58.6 percent of households, she said.
And County Road 42 at the confluence of interstates 35W and 35E is a “great location” for the million-square-foot Burnsville Center — “the only thing missing is our Asian flavor, our Asian food program,” she said.
The regional mall “is an incredibly important part of our history here in Burnsville, and we’re so excited that the Windfall Group and Pacifica Square” are coming, said Burnsville Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Harmening.
Hayes indicated that construction and renovation will take about 18 months.
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