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Southdale

Southdale, officially known as Southdale Center, was the first fully-enclosed and completely climate-controlled shopping mall in the United States. It was opened for public use on October 8, 1956, in the Minneapolis, Minnesota suburb of Edina. As of June 2003, the original Southdale building, as well as additions to this building were still in use.

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History Groundbreaking for Southdale took place on October 29, 1954. 800 construction workers were needed to construct the 4-story 800,000 square foot center, complete with 5,200 parking spaces and 72 spaces for tenants.

It was envisioned that Southdale would become the central gathering place not only for the residents of the city of Edina, but also for the greater Twin Cities area. Southdale was designed from the viewpoint of the future. The creators of Southdale understood that in the future, consumers would demand convenience and variety. To this end, Southdale was designed to provide many useful services all under one roof. These services included everything from a Post Office, to a grocery store, to an up-scale apparel store[?].

When Southdale opened, it became a gathering place for area residents, just as was envisioned. Over the years, Southdale hosted gem, boat and fine art shows, as well as served as host for charity and community events. Southdale was even the host-site for an episode of the Truth Or Consequences[?] game show.

Southdale was the site for many firsts in the shopping mall arena. Besides being completely enclosed and climate-controlled, Southdale was also the first United States shopping mall to feature two competing department stores under the same roof, as well as the first to feature original works of art hanging on the walls. The architect of Southdale, Victor Gruen[?], believed the key to Southdale’s success lie in making sure an atmosphere of leisure, excitement, and intimacy was created. To achieve this, Gruen placed works of art, decorative lighting[?], fountains[?], tropical plants[?], and flowers throughout the mall.

Southdale Today While one may expect to find an old and worn-down shopping mall, this is not the case with Southdale. The original Southdale building is still in use, and is as vibrant as ever. Additions to the original construction have brought the total area of the shopping mall to 1.6 million square feet.

In 2002, Southdale Center took on a new look with the completion of two projects: Trendz On Top, an area for the young and fashion savvy shopper, and The District on France, a combination retail, entertainment, and dining experience.

Over 15 million shoppers visit Southdale’s 130 retailers each year. Southdale’s anchor stores include J.C. Penney, Marshall Field’s, Marshall’s, and Mervyn’s.

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Related topics

The Mall of America, located in nearby Bloomington, is said to be the largest shopping mall in the USA.

POV Note

The claim that Southdale is, in fact, the first fully enclosed shopping center has been disputed.



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