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Macy's to close one Ridgedale mall store

  • Article by: JANET MOORE
  • Star Tribune
  • January 3, 2013 - 9:44 PM

Macy's Inc. said Thursday it plans to retool its two store spaces at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka by closing one and enlarging the other.

The Cincinnati-based retailer, which just announced it is closing its store in St. Paul, said it will expand its 202,000-square-foot women's and children's store at Ridgedale by 84,000 square feet, and, once that's done, consolidate the separate men's and home store into the newly enlarged mall anchor. Occupancy is expected by early 2014.

For now, it is unclear what retailer would fill the 129,000-square-foot space left behind by Macy's consolidation at Ridgedale. In 2009, Seattle-based Nordstrom, which has a single Twin Cities store at the Mall of America and two off-price Rack stores at the megamall and in Maple Grove, had an agreement to open a store at Ridgedale. But the deal ultimately soured.

In addition to the fizzled Nordstrom deal, plans for a new Trader Joe's grocery store stalled in 2008, and the store opened at a different Minnetonka location instead.

Ridgedale's owner, mall operator General Growth Properties, filed for bankruptcy in April 2009 -- then the largest real estate bankruptcy in U.S. history. About a year later, General Growth emerged from bankruptcy.

Despite the failed deal at Ridgedale a few years ago, Nordstrom has been looking to expand in the Twin Cities since opening its Mall of America store in 1992.

When asked if Nordstrom is interested in the Ridgedale Macy's space, spokesman Colin Johnson declined to comment. "We would like to do a better job taking care of our customers in Minneapolis and St. Paul," he said. "We have been really pleased with our stores there."

General Growth, the Chicago real estate investment trust that owns 126 regional malls nationwide, including five in Minnesota, did not respond to calls for comment Thursday.

The bifurcated Macy's operation at Ridgedale is unusual for the Twin Cities market, but not so nationally. Macy's spokesman Jim Sluzewski said there are 80 to 90 such stores in malls nationwide, including those with the men's and home merchandise singled out.

The two stores at Ridgedale date back to 1995, when precursor Dayton's purchased the Carson Pirie Scott store at the mall. Dayton's split off the men's and home business into one store, with women, cosmetics and children's merchandise in another. Macy's later continued the unusual arrangement.

Some believe Dayton's split the department store operation at Ridgedale to keep competitor Nordstrom at bay.

The news at Ridgedale on Thursday was part of an overall announcement by Macy's that it would close six namesake and Bloomingdale's stores across the country this spring, including the store in downtown St. Paul. Another nine Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores are slated to open nationwide.

When asked about the consolidation and expansion at Ridgedale, Sluzewski said "it was an opportunity to make a great store bigger and better at one location."

Once the smaller store is closed, General Growth will buy it for "redevelopment." Macy's will continue to own the larger store.

Janet Moore • 612-673-7752

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