In another sign that Twin Cities malls are finding creative ways to replace traditional tenants, both Rosedale and Southdale will add Kowalski's Markets in their planned expansions.
Woodbury-based Kowalski's, a supermarket chain known for its European styling and high-quality meats and produce, said it has signed a lease for a 30,000-square-foot store in the former Herberger's space at Rosedale. Construction will start next year and the new store will open in early 2022.
The company expects to sign a lease soon for another new store to be built in the former Herberger's space at Southdale. The existing structure will be demolished as part of an expansion from the just-completed Life Time that is expected to include Kowalski's, an apartment tower with 300 units, and a relocated Edina library. Completion is expected in 2022.
"These are both great markets for us that we've been looking at for some time," Mike Oase, chief operating officer for Kowalski's, said Thursday. "Both malls are well-managed, but we been waiting for the right partnerships and developers and the right timing. Rosedale and Southdale have done a lot to improve their malls."
In January, Rosedale executives unveiled more details on a $200 million expansion, including apartments, hotels, office space and commercial space that includes Kowalski's along the southern side of the mall.
"Like we have for the past 50 years, Rosedale has always been committed to bringing in the best local and national partners to be part of this amazing place," said Lisa Crain, Rosedale's general manager, in a statement. "The news about Kowalski's being our new grocery store is another example of this commitment carrying forward."
Meanwhile, Southdale over the past few years filled all four corners of its parking lot perimeter: luxury apartments on the southeast, Homewood Suites on the northeast, Shake Shack on the northwest and Restoration Hardware on the southwest.
Ridgedale in Minnetonka is also focusing on its outside perimeter.
Recent additions include iFly Indoor Skydiving, Xfinity and Cafe Zupas on the northwest parking lot pad.
A six-story luxury apartment building to be completed by fall is being built on the south pad. CycleBar, an indoor cycling franchise, opened late last year inside the mall, but it has outside access to accommodate extended hours.
A Red Owl grocery store was part of Southdale when it opened as the nation's first enclosed shopping center in 1956, and many malls followed suit in the early days.
By the 1980s, grocery stores and malls were a mismatch for each other. But the pendulum is swinging back as malls look for ways to counter the decline of numerous national and regional retail chains.
"As the malls have emptied out, they have to look for different fillers, whether it's Life Time, restaurants, Hennepin County offices or grocery stores," said Dick Grones of Cambridge Commercial Realty in Edina. "Every mall is going more experiential."
Kowalski's doesn't have a target for the number of stores it wants in the Twin Cities, Oase said. The two new stores will be its 12th and 13th, but he thinks there's still room for growth in the western and northwest suburbs.
The Rosedale location will be slightly larger than the average location, which is about 28,000 square feet.
It will not have an entrance from within the mall but will include a separate wine and spirits shop.
The Southdale store will not include alcohol because Edina is a municipal liquor city.
With a number of residents living on mall property at both new locations, Kowalski's expects delivery to be popular with those customers.
Grones said the new locations will work well for both Kowalski's and the malls.
"I think people will put their arms around it," he said. "They can go renew their driver's license and get groceries too. It's a different kind of visit, but it's a visit nonetheless and malls need that."