Bakery lovers rejoice! Panera Bread opening Duluth location!

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That's right folks! All you wildest bakery dreams have come true! Those delicious bagels, homemade sandwiches, soups, and salads, and oh yes, let's not forget the delicious desserts, will all be only a step away soon! We can't possibly contain our excitement for this one! So let's start off with a hoot and hollar. Hoot. And hollar...for Panera Bread that is!

The Hansen Center has released new preliminary designs for their site showing a change in design from the original proposal. The building that originally was to hold Verizon Wireless and an additional tenant now will only have one 4,000 square foot space for Verizon. The space that was to house a stand alone Starbuck's has now been completely redesigned to become a 4,500 square foot stand alone structure that will house a Panera Bread restaurant. The location will even feature a drive thru (consider yourselves lucky as most locations do not!) which will obviously be a plus for northern Minnesotans in the winter. The final building will house two additional tenants, The Vitamin Shoppe (as originally planned) and also Sleep Number. The original tenant for the Sleep Number space was to be Mattress Firm, but as we said before those were only potential tenants for the site. It doesn't surprise us whatsoever that Sleep Number would plan on moving out of the Miller Hill Mall as that has been their national trend lately. They prefer freestanding stores in close distances to malls now.

As far as the fifth tenant goes that the Duluth News Tribune had mentioned, we don't see anything regarding them... or a space. It appears that Starbuck's no longer will be part of the development as their space was taken over to provide a larger space for Panera Bread. We can only assume they are looking elsewhere for a new space.

If you haven't heard of Panera Bread... well... you're in for a treat. The company literally means "Bread Time" and began in St. Louis where still to this date the Panera Bread locations there are referred to as "St. Louis Bread Company." Panera's restaurants tend to be around the 4,600 square foot mark (so Duluth's will be pretty normal) and features modern interiors with plenty of spaces to lounge and enjoy your bakery item, meal, beverage, or dessert. The company is considered to be a quick-casual bakery meaning that you go up to a counter, order your food, and then your number is called out when it is ready. That doesn't mean you should expect it to be like McDonalds or Subway. Oh no. The food is of great quality and the environment is beautiful. Imagine Chipotle, Bruegger's Bagels and Noodles and Company having a really classy baby. This is a great sign as we've known since 2008 that Panera Bread had been in the area shopping around for real estate. They apparently had a deal, but it fell through.

Look for construction to begin on the new home for these four tenants next month.

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