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Southtown Center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Southtown Center
The center's former movie theater
Location Bloomington, Minnesota, USA
Coordinates 44°51′37″N 93°18′18″W / 44.860148°N 93.304889°W / 44.860148; -93.304889
Address 7800 Penn Avenue South (at Interstate 494)
Opening date November 3, 1960
Developer Kraus-Anderson, Inc.
Management Kraus-Anderson, Inc.
Owner Kraus-Anderson, Inc.
No. of stores and services 38
No. of anchor tenants 5
Total retail floor area 534,650 square feet (50,000 m2)
No. of floors 1
Parking 2,100[1]

Southtown Center, colloquially known as Southtown, is a regional shopping mall in Bloomington, Minnesota, a suburb of the Twin Cities. Southtown Center consists of 534,650 square feet (50,000 m2) of retail space. The center contains 38 retail tenants and is anchored by AMF Bowling Centers, Bed Bath & Beyond, Herberger's, Kohl's, and T.J. Maxx.

The first phase of Southtown Center opened on November 3, 1960, with two more phases proceeding in 1963 and 1964. The mall is partially enclosed, while the majority of the center contains open air structures. Several additional buildings were constructed on the property throughout the years, while minimal renovations took place to maintain the mall's appearance.

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1960–62: Construction, grand opening, and additions

Southtown Center opened on November 3, 1960 in Bloomington, Minnesota and became Bloomington's "first regional shopping center".[2] The center was developed by Kraus-Anderson, Inc., a Bloomington-based construction firm, with founder Lloyd Engelsma taking over as the site's project manager.[3] According to Engelsma, Southtown was built atop "a strip of cow pasture" near a busy intersection in Bloomington, taking up nearly 37 acres of land; Engelsma had "high expectations for the new center."[4] During construction of the mall, three labor strikes occurred which heavily delayed construction; unideal and inclement weather created further setbacks during the construction.[4] Montgomery Ward, a Chicago-based department store, announced that they would be opening up a location at Southtown, and became the mall's only anchor; Ward filled a 188,050 square feet (17,000 m2) building, the largest Ward department store in the United States.[5]

After the center's opening, several additions took place at the mall. During 1963, a 43,000 square feet (4,000 m2) AMF Bowling Center was constructed on the north side of the property; the bowling alley is still currently in use today.[4] In 1964, a Mann Theatres was constructed on the property; Southtown Mann Theatre became the first movie theater to be attached to a shopping center in the Twin Cities.[6] However, the cinema was completely remodeled in 1980, removing some its original decor, before being torn down in 1995 to make way for additional retail.[7]

1998–present: Store closings and rezoning

Montgomery Ward prospered as Southtown's largest tenant until 1998, when Ward announced that they would be closing nine underperforming locations as part of their "ongoing operations and strategic initiatives to return to profitability."[8] Filling Ward's vacancy was Herberger's, a Minnesota department store, who had agreed to purchase several other closed Montgomery Ward stores in the Twin Cities area.[9] Toys "R" Us agreed to lease the other side of the Ward store that Herberger's hadn't leased.[9]

In September 2014, several plans were created by the city of Bloomington in order to rezone several parts of the shopping center.[10] However, Southtown's owner, Kraus-Anderson, stated that the rezoning would "threaten Southtown's existence and that customers like things how they are."[11][12] Several Bloomington locals and customers of Southtown created a website to persuade the city of Bloomington not to continue with any redeveloping plans.[13] Despite the creation of the website and Kraus-Anderson's frustration and concern during the proposed redevelopment, the city council approved the project in July 2015.[14] In April of the same year, Southtown's 44,548 square feet (4,100 m2) Toys "R" Us closed after their 26-year lease expired.[15] Despite this closing, Southtown Center has maintained a 99 percent occupancy rate for many years.[16]


  1. ^ "Southtown Shopping Center" (PDF). Kraus-Anderson. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  2. ^ "The Norling Collection". BHS Bloomington Historical Society. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. ^ "About Kraus-Anderson". Kraus-Anderson. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Our History". Southtown Shopping Center. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Our History". Kraus-Anderson. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  6. ^ Twin Cities Album. Minnesota Historical Society. 2007. p. 96. ISBN 0873517555. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  7. ^ Krefft, Bryan. "Mann Southtown Theatre". Cinema Treasures. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Wards to Close Nine Additional Underperforming Stores as Part Of Ongoing Operations and Reorganization Program". PR Newswire, A UBM pic company. 29 May 1998. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  9. ^ a b "Herberger's to open Twin Cities stores". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. 28 October 1998. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  10. ^ Owings, Cali (27 January 2015). "Southtown zoning postponed, Bloomington moves forward with district plan". Finance & Commerce. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  11. ^ Reilly, Mark (10 September 2014). "Kraus Anderson, Bloomington knock heads over plans for Southtown". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  12. ^ Reinan, John (10 September 2014). "Owner of Southtown says shopping center is being "railroaded" by proposed zoning changes". StarTribune. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  13. ^ "The future of Minnesota's Iconic Community Shopping Center". Southtown Next. Archived from the original on 5 April 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  14. ^ Reinan, John (14 July 2015). "Southtown Shopping Center in Bloomington to be slowly transformed". StarTribune. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  15. ^ Halter, Nick (7 April 2015). "Toys R Us is closing its Southtown store". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  16. ^ Owings, Cali (2 December 2014). "Bloomington delays rezoning for Penn-American district". Finance & Commerce. Retrieved 26 March 2016.

External links

This page was last edited on 26 May 2018, at 06:54
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