Author: STEVE SCOTT Pioneer Press
Date: December 1, 2004

With a major vacancy to fill since Mervyn's closed at Rosedale Center, mall managers are proposing an expansion that would not only remodel the vacated department store but also add shops, restaurants and theaters.

The Roseville Planning Commission tonight will consider a proposal calling for a 132,000-square-foot mall expansion into what is now a lower-level parking lot east of the old Mervyn's.

Shops in the expanded area would be open to the outside, not the interior of the mall. The so-called "lifestyle center" development is patterned on a smaller scale after the Jordan Creek mall in West Des Moines, Iowa.

"This current trend in retail development embodies mixed-use, open-air retail venues," wrote John Schupp, senior vice president for mall manager Jones Lang LaSalle, in a letter to the city of Roseville. "In fact, this type of development has become so successful that there are a number of tenants that will no longer 'go into the mall.' "

Schupp said similar retail developments in Woodbury and Maple Grove, as well as along St. Paul's Grand Avenue, are a competitive threat to Rosedale, which opened in 1969 and was renovated in 1992.

The old Mervyn's probably would be remodeled into several smaller stores. The expansion tentatively would include a sporting goods store, bookstore, restaurant, cafe and 12 other retailers, plus a 14-screen theater with stadium seating. Two theater complexes, Har Mar and Pavilion at Crossroads, now exist within three-fourths of a mile of Rosedale.

"We think it's inevitable a more state-of-the-art theater will go in somewhere, if not here, then elsewhere," said Rollin Hunsicker, the mall's general manager.

Nine Mervyn's stores in the Twin Cities closed over the summer after being bought by May Department Stores as part of its acquisition of Marshall Field's from Target Corp. If the plan proceeds, Rosedale would buy the old Mervyn's from May, which has no plans for the property, Hunsicker said.

Among its 157 stores, Rosedale is situated between four anchor tenants, including Marshall Field's, J.C. Penney and Herberger's. Mervyn's was the successor of earlier anchors Donaldson's and Carson's.

"The northeast corner of the mall has always been more difficult to lease because it was the farthest from Dayton's (now Marshall Field's)," Roseville community development director Dennis Welsch said.

Because the project would be considered a "major modification" under the city code, the plan requires city approval. Among questions developers will face are the impact on traffic, parking (a loss of 381 spaces) and the adjacent Metro Transit hub for city buses, with its 300-space park-and-ride lot.

A recent retail study by the University of St. Thomas showed that Rosedale would be the most popular destination for area holiday shoppers, followed by Maplewood Mall, Ridgedale Center, Mall of America and Southdale Center.

Steve Scott may be reached at or 651-228-5526.

Author: STEVE SCOTTPioneer Press

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