|Location||Saint Anthony, Minnesota|
|No. of stores and services||over 60|
|Website||Apache Plaza tribute site|
Apache Plaza was a former shopping center, located in St. Anthony, Minnesota, a small suburb of Minneapolis. It opened in 1961 as one of the first enclosed shopping centers in the US, and closed in 2004.
Apache Plaza has historic significance because it was one of the first enclosed malls in the US, opening in 1961. It was the second such center in the state of Minnesota, after Southdale. Its design, by architect Willard Thorsen, was state-of-the-art at the time. Apache had a spacious center court with a hyperbolic paraboloid roof (hyperboloid structure). The paraboloids were concrete shells, shaped like an inverted umbrella. Ten of these paraboloids made up the roof of the center court, which was ringed with Mondrian-inspired clerestory windows. The mall had more than 60 stores at its height, as well as a large monthly indoor antiques and collectables show and a bowling alley in the basement. In the early 1970s, the mall was still thriving, despite the opening of nearby Rosedale. The larger mall would contribute to the Apache's decline, with the relocation of the Apache's anchor stores to Rosedale.
Other associated developments
In addition to Apache Plaza, the Apache Corporation developed two office buildings neighboring the mall. The first, the Apache Office Park, was built in 1964. Its design had a unique, space-age look; the building was on stilts, with a stairwell/elevator in the center. The space underneath the building served as a parking lot. The second, the Apache Medical Complex, was completed in 1966. Originally strictly a medical complex, this building now houses some other businesses.
The decline of Apache
In the early 1980s, Apache underwent a major renovation, only to have its south end damaged by a tornado on 26 April 1984. Three days after the tornado, a major snowfall covered the area. Since it was spring, the snow quickly melted, flooding twister-damaged areas of the mall. The damage was repaired, and the mall re-opened on 15 November. Some of the original charm was lost, as the multi-colored clerestory windows around the center court had replaced by colorless glass.
In the early 1990s, tenants began leaving the mall in droves. Herberger's opened at Apache in 1987, saving the center from demolition for 17 years. By 2000, the mall was nearly empty, but still open to mall-walkers. Around this time, Apache Plaza was voted as the "best place to dump someone" in the Twin Cities by the local alternative weekly City Pages.
Apache was scheduled for demolition in April 2004. The final days saw the mall host a "Bulldozer Bash." This was intended to kick off plans for its successor development, Silver Lake Village, a mixed-use development. However, the majority of the people at the event were not there to celebrate the new shopping center, but came to share Apache memories and mourn the loss of what was once the center of their community.
The Apache Office Park was also demolished around the same time. The Apache Medical Complex, however, still remains.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Apache Plaza Shopping Center
- Dana Fields, "Storm System Ravages Several States," St. Petersburg Evening Independent, April 27, 1984. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=EKBSAAAAIBAJ&sjid=V30DAAAAIBAJ&dq=apache-plaza&pg=7084%2C3137018
- "The Best of the Twin Cities: The Winners," City Pages, May 3, 2000, http://www.citypages.com/2000-05-03/news/the-best-of-the-twin-cities-the-winners/
- "Apache Plaza Retail Mix Detailed," St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 4, 2003, B3.
- "Apache Plaza on the Way Out," Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 19, 2004.