Southdale Center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Southdale Center
View of the center court
Location Edina, Minnesota
United States
Coordinates 44°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
Address 6901 France Avenue South
Opening date October 8, 1956
Developer Dayton Company (now Target Corporation)
Management Simon Property Group
Owner Simon Property Group (50%)
Architect Victor Gruen Associates
No. of stores and services 120+
No. of anchor tenants 4
Total retail floor area 1,300,000 sq ft (120,000 m2)
No. of floors 4
Website Official website

Southdale Center, colloquially known as Southdale, is a shopping mall located in Edina, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. It opened in 1956 and is the oldest fully enclosed, climate-controlled mall in the United States.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] As of 2011, much of the original Southdale structure is still in use, as well as later additions to the building.


Southdale Center was developed by the Dayton Company and designed by Victor Gruen, an Austrian immigrant and socialist.[8] 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. He modeled Southdale on the arcades of European cities.[9][10] In his plans for Southdale he placed the shopping center at the center of a 463-acre (1.9 km²) development that was also to comprise apartment buildings, houses, schools, a medical center, a park, and a lake. Southdale was not to be a suburban alternative to downtown Minneapolis, but something more complete, better thought out. Gruen wanted an atmosphere of leisure, excitement, and intimacy. To achieve this he placed works of art, decorative lighting, fountains, an aviary with 50 types of birds, tropical plants, and flowers throughout the mall. However, Gruen's vision for development around the shopping center was not achieved.[11]

External video
Buildings that Changed America #8 Southdale Center, WTTW,[11]

Groundbreaking for Southdale took place on October 29, 1954. 800 construction workers were needed to construct the three-story, 800,000 ft² (74,000 m²) center, which had 5,200 parking spaces and 72 premises for tenants and cost $20 million.[12] The mall was developed by the Dayton Company, owners of Dayton's department store in Minneapolis and predecessor to the Target Corporation. A branch of Dayton's would anchor the mall along with Donaldson's, Walgreens Pharmacy and Woolworth.

The official mall opening on October 8, 1956, drew 40,000 visitors.[8]

After a visit in November, Frank Lloyd Wright, during a speech to the local Citizens League, mercilessly criticized the mall design by saying, "The garden court has all the evils of a village street and none of its charms." (He criticized all of the downtown Minneapolis buildings, as well.)[13]

It was envisioned that Southdale would become a hub not just for the residents of the city of Edina, but for the greater Twin Cities area, surpassing downtown Minneapolis. The creators of the center understood that consumers increasingly demanded both convenience and variety; as a result, the mall was designed to provide many useful services under one roof. These services included everything from a Post Office, to a grocery store, to an upscale apparel store and even a small zoo. With the construction of the IDS Center and its attached Crystal Court in the central Minneapolis business district, though, the downtown area reclaimed its focal status.

Over the years, Southdale has been the venue of gem, boat, and fine art shows, as well as of charity and community events. Southdale was the host site for an episode of the game show Truth or Consequences.[citation needed]

Southdale today[edit]

Trendz on Top Area located on the Upper Level

Southdale Center boasts close to 1,300,000 square feet (120,000 m2) of space throughout the original building and later additions. Dayton's original store was gutted in 1991 and turned into more mall space, as a new Dayton's was added. It would convert to Marshall Field's in 2001, and to Macy's in 2006. Donaldson's later housed a Carson Pirie Scott, then a Mervyns; this space, spanning 179,090 square feet (16,638 m2) on four levels, was left vacant after Mervyns closed in 2004. The space remained unoccupied until January 2011, when decisions were made to fill 133,000 square feet (12,400 m2) of the 179,000-square-foot (16,600 m2) the vacancy with a Herberger's store.[14] The store opened November 9, 2011.[15]

In 2002, Southdale Center took on a new look with the completion of two projects: Trendz On Top, an area composed of stores aiming toward teenagers, and The District on France comprises retail, entertainment, and dining. Plans for the mall's continuing 2011 renovation include a new twelve-tenant food court on the second floor of the JCPenney wing.[16]

The new food court at Southdale Center opened in winter 2012 and houses Subway, Teriyaki Japan, Panda Express, Dairy Queen, Orange Julius, Smashburger, and Qdoba Mexican Grill. Freshii and Great Steak & Potato Company will join the food court in Fall 2013.[citation needed]

Southdale hosted a premiere of the Will Smith film "Seven Pounds" on December 12, 2008, which Smith attended after first speaking at a local school and visiting a children's hospital.

In 2011, Southdale decided to start a multimillion dollar renovation that would include a new food court, and expanded retail without adding on to the mall's present structure. The biggest change would move the 10 tenant food court (where only 2 tenants were filled) to the JCPenney's court on the opposite side of the mall. Southdale also moved a lot of the mall's tenants and also had some tenants close their doors, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, California Pizza Kitchen, Foot Locker, and more. New stores like Kay Jewelers, See's Candies, Sperry Top-Sider, & Vera Bradley opened stores in summer 2013.

One of the oldest stores in the mall's history was forced to close.[17] That store was Ralph's Shoe Service, which is now a Panda Express.

In early summer 2013, ground broke at the overflow parking lot at Southdale Center for a housing community.[18]

Southdale Center is currently 29% vacant.[19] A 3% decrease since July 2013.


Former anchors[edit]

  • Dayton's Department Store name changed to Marshall Field's in 2001. When Marshall Fields' parent, May Co., was sold to Federated Department Stores, then parent of Macy's, the store was rebranded as a Macy's in 2005.[citation needed]
  • Donaldson's name changed to Carson Pirie Scott and later moved out of Southdale, then a branch of Mervyn's a mid-price department store (a California chain acquired by Target Corporation) occupied the space until Mervyn's closed due to bankruptcy in 2004 and the space was left vacant and occasionally served as a short term Halloween store and a location for Feed My Starving Children special events. Herberger's opened a branch store in the location in November 2011.[citation needed]
  • Marshalls[20]
  • Walgreens (remodeled into other stores)
  • Woolworth's (remodeled into other stores)


See also[edit]

  • Mall of America, located in nearby Bloomington, MN, is the largest shopping mall in the United States.[21] To an extent, the construction of the Mall of America was an impetus for the expansion and remodeling of Southdale Center, as owners worried that Southdale's business would suffer as a consequence of the opening of the former.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "From Settlement to Suburb: The History of Edina, Minnesota" by Paul D. Hesterman (1988)
  7. ^ "Shopping Towns, USA: The Planning of Shopping Centers" by Victor Gruen and Larry Smith (1960)
  8. ^ a b "40,000 Visitors See New Stores; Weather-Conditioned Shopping Center Opens". The New York Times. October 9, 1956. Retrieved March 10, 2010. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Retailing Birth, death and shopping", The Economist, December 19, 2007
  11. ^ a b "#8 Southdale Center". 10 Buildings that Changed America. WTTW. 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.  Webpage features include a photo slide show, video from the televised program (5:11), and "web exclusive video" (5:18).
  12. ^ Malcolm Gladwell, The Terrazzo Jungle, The New Yorker, March 15, 2004, Accessed June 12, 2009.
  13. ^
  14. ^ [1], Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  15. ^ [2], Minnesota Star Tribune.
  16. ^ [3], CBS Minnesota.
  17. ^ "Southdale's oldest tenant Ralph's Shoe Service said he was forced out". KARE. KARE. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  18. ^ Buchta, Jim. "A first look at the luxury apartments under construction at Southdale Center". Star Tribune. Star Tribune. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  19. ^ Simon Property Group. Simon Property Group Retrieved November 17, 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Vomhof Jr., John. "Marshalls to leave Southdale, move down the street". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2013. 
  21. ^ Largest Shopping Malls in the United States

External links[edit]