wombat_socho (wombat_socho) wrote,

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Now just as ugly on the inside!

I've never been overly impressed by City Center, that big ugly pile of concrete and retail space in downtown Minneapolis. It looks for all the world like some chunk of Hitler's Atlantic Wall picked up by Minnesotans during World War II and brought home as a trophy of war, and lately has been just about as successful in attracting businesses. Lately, though, they've just been ripping the guts out of the place. There's plywood all over the inside where the balcony walls used to be, the escalator on the north side has been shut down, and a goodly number of the places in the Food Court have closed down. There were signs today at the Taco Bell and McDonald's advising customers that they would be closing soon and directing them to other nearby branches iof the franchise.

According to this April article from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, the plan is to further increase the amount of office space in the old bunker, and also aggressively court "service providers" who will cater to the people who live and work downtown instead of continuing the futile effort to compete with the Dales and Mall of America. One of the changes mentioned in the article was the addition of an "upscale grocery store with heavy emphasis on deli and prpared foods." Hmmm. Sounds a lot like Dayton's Marketplace to me, or perhaps like the Lund's that's supposed to go in down Hennepin Avenue by MCTC.

I'm generally skeptical about redvelopment efforts like this, but for once it seems like the developers are using their brains for something besides an ear separator. My only question is whether there'll be enough customer flow to keep a bunch of low-margin stores and eateries alive in City Center. Even before the redevelopment started, the Food Court had lost Arby's and 1 Potato 2, and I believe the closing of the DQ/Orange Julius also predated the renovations. We'll see how it goes. I'm less concerned with this sort of thing than I was back when I lived in Minneapolis and saw my property taxes getting pissed away on subsidies for this sort of thing.
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