I’m a big fan of the Excelsior & Grand development in St. Louis Park. Too often, when a "downtown" pops up in the middle of a suburb, it looks like a phony facade in the middle of a huge parking lot. But Excelsior & Grand really seems to fit in. The development looks urban, but has fountains and greenery that make it an attractive gathering spot. The stores (including Q., Shorty’s Loft, Max’s, Shu and Lulu & Luigi) are locally owned and unique, there’s a variety of tenants from dog boutique to nail salon, the restaurants are varied, there’s a great park just down the hill and plenty of paths, and who could forget: Trader Joe’s.
Nevertheless, I just got word that Che Bella, one of the original Excelsior & Grand retailers, has decided to move to Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Great news for Grand (read more about that in the St. Paul Pioneer Press in the coming weeks – the new shop opens early September). But I’ve heard some rumblings that others at Excelsior & Grand are having a bit of trouble. One of the culprits: parking. Indeed, it’s tough to get one of the few spaces right next to the stores, but there is ample ramp parking nearby. I guess having to walk a bit to the shops is a little too urban for some. What do you think? Do you shop at Excelsior & Grand? If not, why not? Is it the stores, is it the parking, is it something else? Hate to see a promising new district with vacancy signs.