Southdale Center
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Southdale Center
Southdale Center
View of the center court
LocationEdina, Minnesota, U.S.
Coordinates44°52?50?N 93°19?34?W / 44.88056°N 93.32611°W / 44.88056; -93.32611Coordinates: 44°52?50?N 93°19?34?W / 44.88056°N 93.32611°W / 44.88056; -93.32611
Address6901 France Avenue South
Opening dateOctober 8, 1956
DeveloperDayton Company (now Target Corporation)
ManagementSimon Property Group
OwnerSimon Property Group (50%)
ArchitectVictor Gruen Associates
No. of stores and services123
No. of anchor tenants4 (1 occupied,3 vacant)
Total retail floor area1,300,000 sq ft (120,000 m2)
No. of floors4
WebsiteOfficial website

Southdale Center is a shopping mall located in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. It opened in 1956 and is the oldest fully enclosed, climate-controlled shopping mall in the United States. Southdale Center comprises 1,300,000 sq ft (120,000 m2) of leasable retail space, and contains approximately 123 retail tenants. The mall is partially owned by Simon Property Group and is anchored by Macy's.

Victor Gruen, the center's architect, designed the mall to challenge the "car-centric" America that was rising in the 1950s. Since its opening in 1956, Southdale has suffered through high vacancy rates and several store closures, but has been able to recover in recent years. Several additions have been performed on the building, including a 2011 renovation which involved the construction of a brand new food court. Southdale Center continues to use much of its original structure despite these renovations, and has been the host of several charity and community events throughout the years.


1954-57: Construction and grand opening

Southdale Center was developed by the Dayton Company and designed by Victor Gruen, an Austrian immigrant and socialist.[1] Gruen was a European-style socialist; he found individual stores in downtown venues to be inefficient, and the suburban lifestyle of 1950s America too "car-centric" and wanted to design a building that would be a communal gathering place, where people would shop, drink coffee, and socialize, as he remembered from his native Vienna. Southdale Center was loosely modeled on the arcades of several heavily populated European cities and purposely included "eye-level display cases" to "lure customers into stores".[2][3] Gruen imaged that Southdale would eventually include "a medical center, schools and residences, not just a parade of glitzy stores."[4] The first plans unveiled for the shopping center were announced in 1952 by Gruen and Minnesota native, Donald Dayton.[5]

Groundbreaking for Southdale took place on October 29, 1954; 800 construction workers were needed to build the three-story, 800,000 sq ft (74,000 m2), 500 acre center, which had 5,200 parking spaces, 72 available tenants, and cost $20 million to construct.[6] Due to Minnesota's harsh climate in the winter, Gruen constructed the center with a roof and air-conditioning system capable of maintaining a comfortable temperature of 75 °F (24 °C) year-round.[3] The mall was originally anchored by Dayton's, Donaldson's, Walgreens, and Woolworth, the first of which also developed the center.[7] Over 40,000 visitors attended the grand opening ceremony for the center on the morning of October 8, 1956.[1][8] An additional 188,000 customers visited the mall throughout the following week.[5]

The center was constructed to successfully bring the community together by "gathering art, culture and entertainment under one roof with retail."[9] The Dayton's store was modeled after Dayton's flagship store in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[10] In November 1956, organic architect Frank Lloyd Wright visited the mall as part of a tour of new buildings in Minnesota; he critiqued Southdale's overall design, stating "[the] garden court has all the evils of the village street and none of its charm," further criticizing several other buildings in nearby Minneapolis.[11] He unfavorably added that Gruen "should have left downtown, downtown."[12]

1958-90: Additions, JCPenney opens, and new competition

Over the early years of Southdale, several tenants and restaurants opened in the center. A restaurant called Sidewalk Cafe, was an "outdoor"-themed restaurant, even though the venue was fully enclosed; Sidewalk Cafe was the first restaurant of its kind.[13]JCPenney, a Plano, Texas-based department store, announced their interest in opening a location at Southdale Center.[14] An addition to the mall was constructed, allowing JCPenney to open a 247,902 square feet (23,000 m2) store in 1972; it became Southdale's third anchor store, following Dayton's and Donaldson's.[15] Along with the new anchor store came an entire new mall corridor connecting JCPenney to the original structure of the mall.[16]

During 1976, construction of a new shopping center directly across the street from Southdale occurred. The construction resulted in the Galleria Edina, an upscale shopping center; the new shopping mall increased competition with neighboring shopping centers.[17] In 1987, Donaldson's announced the discontinuation of their chain of stores, which would shut one of the mall's original anchors. Instead, Donaldson's merged with Chicago-based department chain Carson Pirie Scott.[18]

1991-2008: Expansion, Dayton's merger, and store closures

In 1991, Dayton's announced plans to construct a significantly larger store directly north of their current location.[14] These plans included the demolition of the original Dayton's store to be replaced with more stores, plus a larger "garden court", and the construction of various multi-level parking garages; these plans were eventually constructed and finalized in the early 1990s.[16] On June 30, 1997, Southdale Center was sold to the O'Connor Group, a New York-based real estate company for $125 million.[19][20] Around this time, Southdale converted their basement into a singular anchor store, which became Marshalls; surrounding the new anchor were several specialty shops and mall management offices.[21]

The former Trendz on Top area located on the third level

During the early 2000s, following fear of competition from nearby Eden Prairie Center and Mall of America, Southdale announced further plans to renovate the center again. A complete remodeling of the center occurred in 2001, followed by a large addition to the southern half of the property;[22] the addition included a sixteen screen movie theater along with an entertainment district of restaurants and shops called "The District on France".[16] "The District on France" included several "upscale" dining options, including California Pizza Kitchen, The Cheesecake Factory, and Maggiano's Little Italy.[23][24] A renovation of the less-traveled third floor also occurred, with the addition of teen-geared stores; this addition was called "Trendz on Top".[25]

Throughout the mid 2000s, Southdale began struggling with maintaining a low vacancy rate. Mervyn's, one of Southdale's four anchors, announced that they had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would in turn close all of their Minnesota locations.[26] After the closure of Mervyn's in 2004, several tenants followed and ended their leases as well;[27] national retailers like The Bombay Company, Crate & Barrel, Ritz Camera, and Select Comfort all announced closures of their Southdale locations.[28][29] Talks of a Dick's Sporting Goods filling the space formerly leased by Mervyn's occurred, but those plans never took off and eventually dissolved.[30]

2009-2016: Ongoing renovations

In February 2011, Simon Property Group announced that Southdale would soon be anchored by Herberger's, a local department store chain, and would lease the space previously used by Mervyn's.[32] Along with this announcement came the mention of a brand new food court to replace the nearly vacant one on the less-traveled third floor, a housing development consisting of apartments and condominiums, and expanded retail.[33] The food court's construction would include six tenants, which was later increased to eight tenants.[34] However, the new food court forced the closure of one of Southdale's oldest tenants, Ralph's Shoe Service, which originally opened at the mall in 1957.[35][36] Following several tenant terminations, the mall's Marshalls anchor announced that their 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) Southdale location would move to a different shopping center in Bloomington, Minnesota.[37]

The new food court located by JCPenney was completed in 2012 and featured "upscale" dining options, such as Qdoba Mexican Grill and Smashburger; several other projects took place, such as cosmetic changes for the mall and the construction of new corridors.[38] Since 2015, several stores and businesses have opened up locations at Southdale Center. Gordmans, a Nebraska-based discount retailer, filled the vacancy previous leased by Marshalls in July 2015,[39] followed by the opening of a 41,500 square feet (3,900 m2) Dave and Buster's restaurant, filling the vacancy of the original food court.[40] A Homewood Suites by Hilton resort was approved by the City of Edina and will be constructed in the shopping center's northeast parking lot in late 2016.[41]

2017-present: Gordmans, JCPenney, and Herberger's close

Of the six Gordmans stores located in Minnesota, the chain issued a press release in April 2017 stating that five of them would close in 2017; additionally, 48 out of their 98 locations nationwide would close. The Southdale location was expected to close soon after the release.[42] Following the announcement of JCPenney closing nine stores throughout Minnesota, the Southdale Center location was listed as one of them on June 2, 2017.[43] It closed on July 31, 2017. It will be replaced by a Life Time Fitness and additional retail tenants will replace the former location.[44]

Bon-Ton announced on April 17, 2018 that it would close and begin liquidating all Herberger's stores and all 200+ locations after two liquidators, Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group, won an auction for the company. This included the Southdale location. According to national retail reporter Mitch Nolen, stores would close within 10 to 12 weeks.[45][46]

On August 26, 2018, the Herberger's location closed.


  1. ^ a b "40,000 Visitors See New Stores; Weather-Conditioned Shopping Center Opens". The New York Times. October 9, 1956. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ Wholf, Tracy (November 28, 2014). "What did the shopping mall look like in 1956?". PBS. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Birth, Death and Shopping". The Economist. December 19, 2007. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Quito, Anne. "The father of the American shopping mall hated what he created". Quartz. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ a b Roberts, Kate. "Southdale Center". MNopedia. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Gladwell, Malcolm (March 15, 2004). "The Terrazzo Jungle". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Southdale Center: The First Indoor Shopping Mall: Overview". Minnesota History Center: Gale Family Library. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Southdale Center". Walker Art Center. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ Roberts, Karen (September 4, 2015). "Meet the new mall: trends shaping our shopping centers". lohud. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ Johnston, Louis D. (January 11, 2013). "Lessons to learn from Dayton brothers' fateful decision in St. Paul". MinnPost. Retrieved 2016.
  11. ^ Welter, Ben (November 28, 1956). "Frank Lloyd Wright at Southdale". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "Southdale Center". WTTW. Retrieved 2016.
  13. ^ Nelson, Rick (February 7, 2013). "Remembrances of restaurants past". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ a b "How to Build a Better Lifestyle Center" (PDF). MallFinder. 2005. p. 8. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ Aburia, Hebba; Matson, Marcia (March 2013). "Daytons vs. Donaldsons: Southdale Success". Edina Magazine. Retrieved 2016.
  16. ^ a b c "Southdale Center Edina, MN". MallHistory. Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ "About / History". Galleria Edina. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ "Who Invented the Shopping Mall?". Today I Found Out. Retrieved 2016.
  19. ^ "Transactions". National Real Estate Investor. May 1, 2000. Retrieved 2016.
  20. ^ Ehrlich, Jennifer (July 6, 1997). "Southdale sold to New York group". American City Business Journals.
  21. ^ Mattson-Teig, Beth (May 1, 1999). "The Grand Dame of Twin Cities Retail". National Real Estate Investor. Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ Bjorhus, Jennifer (January 4, 2011). "Herberger's likely to fill Southdale anchor hole". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ Newmarker, Chris (January 11, 2010). "Maggiano's Little Italy to leave Southdale". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ "Fhima closes Louis XIII". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. June 15, 2006. Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ Way, Prange. "Southdale Center and Victor Gruen; Edina, Minnesota". Labelscar. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ Crabtree, Penni (October 8, 2008). "Mervyn's says files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy". San Diego Union Tribune. Archived from the original on October 31, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  27. ^ Kaplan, Allison (March 1, 2012). "Saving Southdale". Mpls St Paul. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ DePass, Dee (October 11, 2012). "Select Comfort dialing up the plushness". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016.
  29. ^ "Ritz Camera closing 19 Minnesota stores". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. April 3, 2009. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ "Retail Outlook". United Properties. Retrieved 2016.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "#8 Southdale Center". 10 Buildings that Changed America. WTTW. 2013. Retrieved 2013. Webpage features include a photo slide show, video from the televised program (5:11), and "web exclusive video" (5:18).
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  33. ^ Buchta, Jim (July 8, 2013). "A first look at the luxury apartments under construction at Southdale Center". Star Tribune. Star Tribune. Retrieved 2013.
  34. ^ "Herberger's, New Food Court Coming To Southdale Center". WCCO-TV. February 10, 2011. Retrieved 2016.
  35. ^ Randolph, Tori (October 6, 2006). "Uncertain future for America's first mall at age 50". MPR News. Retrieved 2016.
  36. ^ "Southdale's oldest tenant Ralph's Shoe Service said he was forced out". KARE. December 14, 2011. Retrieved 2013.[dead link]
  37. ^ Vomhof Jr., John (June 6, 2013). "Marshalls to leave Southdale, move down the street". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 2016.
  38. ^ Gauthier, Ryan (August 31, 2012). "Smashburger Coming to Southdale Center's Food Court". Edina Patch. Retrieved 2016.
  39. ^ Ewoldt, John (July 21, 2015). "Discount chain Gordmans opens in Edina's Southdale". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2016.
  40. ^ Lissarrague, Jennie (June 22, 2015). "Dave and Buster's Opens in Edina". KSTP-TV. Retrieved 2016.
  41. ^ Black, Sam (January 5, 2016). "Hotel proposed near Southdale in Edina". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 2016.
  42. ^ Ewoldt, John (April 3, 2017). "Gordmans will close five stores in Minnesota". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017.
  43. ^ Ewoldt, John (June 2, 2017). "J.C. Penney will start closing sale at Southdale location on June 19". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2017.
  44. ^ Reilly, Mark (June 5, 2017). "J.C. Penney confirms it's leaving Southdale; move makes way for Life Time (slideshow)". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 2017.
  45. ^ "Bon-Ton Stores to close (report)". Retrieved .
  46. ^ "Liquidators to wind down US department store chain Bon-Ton". CNBC. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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