Mall owners across the country are looking for creative ways of transforming vacant department stores into more appealing Main Street-style lifestyle centers.
If all goes according to plan in Rosedale Center, the former Herberger’s building will receive last rites as a retail space after the pop-up Haunted Basement closes after Halloween.
The $100 million — or more — of work will begin to transform the building and an adjacent parking lot into Roseville’s latest neighborhood. Mall operator Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) wants to transform the 50-year-old mall into the metro’s latest retail and entertainment lifestyle center with apartments and amenities beyond stores.
“People will live here and eat and work here,” said Lisa Crain, Rosedale’s general manager. “This will become more than just a shopping center.”
While the project is aimed at helping inject new energy into the middle-age mall, such redevelopment projects are happening at shopping centers across the country — and major world centers. Dozens of mall operators have given their shopping centers radical makeovers aimed at reimagining the way people live and shop.
The reinvention is a must as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers compete with online stores — and the mall mainstays, particularly department stores, are struggling.
“It’s really important that places like Rosedale reinvest in these markets and make sure they’re anticipating the changing demands,” said Pat Trudgeon, Roseville’s city manager.
The Rosedale plan is the latest iteration of what’s happening at Southdale, where apartments have replaced parking spaces and there’s a new Life Time fitness, Restoration Hardware store and community library, said Peggy Lord, assistant director at the Center for Retail Design & Innovation at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design’s Retail Merchandising Program.
“The consumer today is looking for experiences and adding upscale restaurants, fitness centers, pop-up stores and new retail concepts that improve the quality of the shopping experience [while] making it more interactive,” Lord said.
Lord said the key to success for owners trying reinvent their regional shopping centers is making it an experience that drives traffic to that mall.
The International Council of Shopping Centers in its “Envision 2020” report listed the community concept as one of the biggest retail changes that have seen success. Basically, the idea is to fully integrate the mall into the surrounding community, becoming another town center.
For example, Liberty Center near Cincinnati has traditional retail and restaurant options, but it also has office and residential buildings, fitness centers, a library and event spaces including a chapel.
Earlier this year JLL announced plans to add hundreds of market-rate and age-restricted rentals, a hotel, offices, restaurants and new shops on the mall’s south side. There will be green space, too.
This week, Crain released new preliminary renderings of the project and said the team has lined up several partners who have committed to helping the firm tackle various aspects of the project. The company said it will present its plans to the city in the next few weeks.
Roseville’s Trudgeon said plans have been quietly discussed for several months at the city level and that he supports the project. Still, JLL will have to request a conditional-use permit for the housing component of the project, which would be built in several phases.
“Having a variety of uses and strengthening the retail core, but making it more experiential place for people to go, including housing, really strengthens their position in the market and in Roseville,” Trudgeon said.
He said the city has been fully developed for several years and that the mall update will likely become the city’s biggest development project.
Because Roseville is a fully developed suburb, he said, developers have been canvassing the city for potential redevelopment sites like the one at Rosedale. Such projects are important because the needs of the city have changed.
For example, even though Roseville is in the midst of a record year for construction projects, it has been at least 30 years since anyone has built a market-rate apartment building, and many residents are aging out of their single-family housing and are ready for more updated rental options.
Hye-Young Kim, an associate professor at University of Minnesota and retail merchandising director at the U’s Center for Retail Design and Innovation, said redevelopment efforts like Rosedale’s have the potential to help people living healthier lives.
Recent research shows restoration from mental fatigue and chronic time pressure can be achieved in such lifestyle centers that include manicured gardens, plants, fountains and walkways that are paired with trendy retail, dining and entertainment spots.
“That is what today’s lifestyle shoppers want,” she said. “They are not just wealthy, upscale experience-seeking shoppers.”