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The Southdale Hennepin Library
in Edina, Minnesota

Retail Apocalypse
Hennepin Library To Move To Southdale

June 25, 2019

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners voted on June 18th to negotiate a lease agreement to move Southdale Library to the nearby Southdale Center. The existing library building will be demolished and sold to brown-brick condominium developers.

Meanwhile, Rojo Mexican Grill closed its Southdale location on June 3rd. Restaurateur Michael McDermott said, “There’s been a lot of changes at Southdale, a lot of people leaving.” Commenting on the library move, he said, “I just don’t think that’s going to draw a lot of people, at least not our customers.

Hennepin County will be locked into Southdale rent at $562,600 for each of the first five years, with increases for the following 15 years.

There had been an artist rendition of the formerly Herberger's space with a library above a restaurant. That has disappeared, because what could go wrong? Restaurant fires result in direct property damage of $165 million annually.

Music Association: Millie Cyrus - Wrecking Ball

Hopes and Dreams

Retail Apocalypse
Saving The Shopping Mall

June 15, 2019

Dinosaurs are gone. There is no good reason to bring them back to life.

Retail is always dying and evolving.

The general store killed specialty stores, which were then hit by the Sears mail-order catalog and mass merchandising. Department stores overtook general stores but were overtaken by mall conglomerations, which were undercut by discount stores like Target and Walmart, which were almost overwhelmed by Amazon.

There are still general stores (in places), and specialty stores, mail-order catalogs, department stores, shopping malls, discount stores, and e-commerce.

When the Mall of America opened in 1992, it was a risk. Nobody knew whether it would succeed or fail. When it succeeded, it changed how the Twin Cities viewed the Dales (Southdale, Rosedale, Ridgedale, & the late Brookdale). The Dales were no longer the pinnacle of shopping experiences in Minnesota. Nearby Southdale (1.2 million retail sq ft) will always be in the shadow of the Mall of America (2.5 million retail sq ft). The Mall of America has 555 stores, an indoor amusement park, and an aquarium. What does Southdale have? Library plans?!?

Developers want the land under the Hennepin County Library near Southdale, which is why it's slated to rent space at Southdale. Southdale would get a tenant with rent money. Hennepin County would get to sell prime land for more brown-brick condominiums.

What are top shopping malls doing to survive?

The most valuable shopping mall* at $5.74 billion is Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. It has an extreme advantage over mainland malls in that there is no land available to build another mall. Its retail area is 2.4 million sq ft with sales of $1,450 per sq ft. Bloomingdale's took over for Sears (closed). Target took over for Nordstrom (moved). Marshalls will replace Foodland. So the Ala Moana anchors are Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Target. Discount retailers like Target and Marshalls in the mix signals all is not perfect in paradise. To cater to the Instagram crowd, they have cheesy Aloha Photo Stations.

The largest single-floor sprawled shopping mall is Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, Florida, valued at $4.1 billion. With 2.3 million sq ft of retail space, it is the 11th largest shopping mall in the U.S. Its anchors are Super Target, Burlington, BrandsMart, TrendMax, Bed Bath Beyond, Dick's, Marshalls, and Century21, plus Neiman Marcus Last Call and Saks Off 5th Avenue. It was closed due to flooding in June of 2017. The Sawgrass Mills survival plan is to keep their heads above water.

The third most valuable shopping mall* is Oakbrook Center in suburban Oakbrook, Illinois, valued at $3.5 billion. Two of its five anchor stores are vacant.

The fourth most valuable shopping mall* is Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York, valued at $3.2 billion. Its sales per square foot of $1,624 is one the highest in the country. As an outlet mall, its anchors are Saks Off 5th Avenue, Calvin Klein, Nike Factory, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Under Armour, and Gap Factory. Traffic jams are their main problem. Their plans to survive are to build two hotels, a new parking deck, and a helipad. They will survive.

The fifth most valuable shopping mall* at $3.06 billion is Fashion Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its anchors are Dillard's, Macy's, Macy's Mens, Forever 21, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks 5th Ave, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

The sixth most valuable shopping mall* at $2.92 billion is Tysons Corner Center in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of Washington DC. Government employees and contractors spend $980 per square foot at Tysons. Its anchor stores -- Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, and Nordstrom -- will be enhanced by plans of adding a 7-Eleven!

Compared to Fashion Show with $975 of sales per sq ft, the Forum Shops at Caesars has $1,616 of sales per sq ft, due to its direct connection to Caesar's Palace. The seventh most valuable shopping mall* at $2.79 billion, allows gamblers to get something in return.

King of Prussia Mall is the largest shopping mall in the U.S. at 2.6 million sq ft and the eighth most valuable* at $2.77 billion. The Pennsylvania mall is anchored by Bloomingdale's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Primark, with one vacant anchor store last occupied by JCPenney.

All of those shopping malls are Real-Estate Investment Trust (REIT) owned, as indicated by the asterisk (*).

Now imagine a family-owned mall with 105 stores (100% full), including Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue as anchors, $3,010 of sales per sq ft, and a waiting list of stores wanting in. That's Bal Harbour Shops just north of Miami Beach, Florida. You can't afford to go there. How do I know? You are reading about shopping malls with problems. That's not their problem. They don't care.

None of these shopping malls will be putting in a library.

Music Association: Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive
* REIT owned shopping malls

Hopes and Dreams

Retail Apocalypse
Moving Into A Shopping Mall

June 14, 2019

A letter complaining about Trump's 25% tariff taxes on goods from China was sent yesterday to President Trump. Two key sentences of the letter explain: “Broadly applied tariffs are not an effective tool to change China's unfair trade practices. Tariffs are taxes paid directly by U.S. companies, including those listed below -- not China.

The one-page letter was signed by 14 pages of stores, companies, port authorities, and trade associations, including:

Active Brands
Ralph Lauren
American Eagle
Designer Brands
Jo-Ann Stores
Levi Strauss
Tomy International
Eddie Bauer
Pier 1 Imports
Regal Games
Urban Outfitters
Columbia Sportswear
Foot Locker
J Crew
LA Gear
Pacific Sunwear

At the end of 2018, shopping malls had a vacancy rate of 9%. Store closings increased in the first quarter of 2019. Over 6,000 store closures have been announced in 2019, topping all of 2018. The economic bumblings of our president couldn't have happened at a worse time for retail. There are about 1,100 malls in America, with about 800 vacant anchor spaces.

Ships Without Anchors
Southdale Mall, the first enclosed shopping mall, opened in Edina, Minnesota in 1956. It has three vacant anchor spaces. The Herberger's department store closed in 2018 as part of the Bon-Ton Stores bankruptcy. And JCPenney and Gordmans also closed anchor stores at Southdale.

Southdale plans to replace JCPenney with a LifeTime Fitness, which is funny because the mall may no longer last a lifetime. And sure, it's foot traffic, but those feet keep moving.

They also plan to demolish the Herberger's building and build a half-size replacement of the Herberger's building for the Hennepin County Library near Southdale.

Hennepin County Library near Southdale in Edina MN

The Hennepin County Library near Southdale is the fourth most visited library in the county with 303,316 visits in 2016 and 329,550 visits in 2017. The Le Corbusier inspired building opened July 25, 1973 and has been a jewel in the Hennepin County Library system ever since. Condominium developers are salivating over the land under the library. The plan is to tear the library down, move it to the mall, and pay retail rent. What could go wrong?!?

Hennepin County Library at Southdale (Edina, MN)

Music Association: Semisonic - Closing Time


Southdale Hennepin Library
Hey, Gorgeous*

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The beautiful Southdale Hennepin Library in Edina, Minnesota USA

Music Association: James Blunt - You're BeautifulHennepin County Library at Southdale (Edina, MN)
*  The title of this post is a nod to the sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations in the news the past few weeks.
Our culture is evolving... slowly. Congress needs to apply transparency to its hush money (pdf). Agreements should be made against non-disclosure agreements.
Do to others as you would have others do to you or your loved ones.

Hopes and Dreams

Southdale Hennepin Library

Thursday, November 23, 2017

I overlook my book
wondering what others are reading
with a snap the spine cracks
and my nose drops between the pages

Sunlight turns
the white room green
a tall chair lowers
for shorter legs

Flat screens reflect dimly
brighter with a cloud overhead
a page hovers in an open book
a box of snow on pillars of white.

overview of the Southdale Hennepin Library in 1973

The Southdale Hennepin Library had 303,316 visits in 2016.

It's located at 7001 York Avenue South in Edina and is open from 9am to 9pm M-Th, 9am-5pm F-Sa, and Sundays from noon-5pm.

The library will be torn down in 2019 with a small corner library rebuilt in 2020 with housing, businesses, and a parking garage. Three possible plans were offered by the Edina Housing & Redevelopment Authority and Hennepin County. On November 15th, the Hennepin County Designer Selection Committee picked MSR (Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle) as the architectural firm for the new development (more information).

Southdale Library in Red with housing and businesses in blue

Southdale Library in Red with housing and businesses in blue

Southdale Library in Red with housing and businesses in blue

Music Association: Overture

Southdale Hennepin Library
In a Mirror, Darkly

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Once upon a time in a place called Uttar Predesh
a man named Shah Jahan built a majestic building to honor his third wife,
Mumtaz Mahal, who died after 30 hours of parturition.

To the north, across the Yamuna River, was another Taj Mahal
in black and upside down
only seen in the black marble reflecting pool, no longer there.

Southdale Hennepin Library 1973
Southdale Hennepin Library 2017 night

Music Associations: Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
& David Cassidy
1950-2017 - I'll Meet You Halfway

Southdale Hennepin Library
Library in the Sun
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Southdale Hennepin Area Library sunlit
Music Associations: The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun & Sheryl Crow - Soakin' Up The Sun

Hopes and Dreams

Box of Snow
November 17, 2017

Build a box of snow
on pillars of white
like Hobbes sees Calvin
fleeting imagination

building a Southdale Area Library -- a box of snow

Music Association: Aerosmith - Draw The Line

Southdale Hennepin Area Library in living color

Libristory (Library-History)
Video Library Back in the 1970s
Sequential Prime Day 11-13-17

Back in the 1970s, video was added to the new Southdale Hennepin Area Library.

In cooperation with the NFL, the library provided recordings of Minnesota Vikings games, repeating Sunday football on Wednesdays at 4pm and 7pm.

The 200 seat meeting room was used for movie nights. Exterior speakers and white exterior walls enabled drive-in styled movies (seasonally).

A 26 foot media desk included 14 stations for listening and viewing films, film strips, video cassettes, sound cassettes, cartridges, tapes, records, and television.

Melanie Currier and others watch video in 1973 at the Southdale Hennepin Area Library
Melanie Currier and others watch video in 1973 at the Southdale Hennepin Area Library (photo by John Croft)

A six channel copper loop enabled headset wearers to listen to programs while browsing the library, including listening to programs about President Nixon, who had more television exposure than the three previous presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson) combined.

Computer terminals were added in 1974.

And in March 1975, Will Steger repelled off the west side of the Southdale Hennepin Area Library, as part of a demonstration of mountain climbing techniques.

The library has been renovated several times since it opened in 1973 and still has the latest media equipment.

Music Associations: Young Rascals - Groovin' and Earth, Wind, & Fire - Let's Groove Tonight

Architectural Digest
Floating Box Architecture

November 6, 2017

Hennepin County Library - Southdale blueprint

How do you get a floating box from art, defective guns, and the Chicago fire?

It's all about steel.

Before steel, architecture was all about holding stones up, with arches, columns, and domes of stone and cement.

Steel had a long history but it was wrought iron: a material fine for patio furniture and trellises but not good as a building material. It wasn't great for guns either. Wrought iron steel was riddled with imperfections. Guns couldn't be mass produced because the steel was too unreliable. In 1856, Henry Bessemer patented the process of making Bessemer steel, a stronger, more malleable, less laborious metal. Gun production and reliability increased.

U.S. steel mills could roll out girders of steel, which built the Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois in 1874. The bridge was the first all steel construction bridge, and it inspired some builders looking to rebuild Chicago after the 1871 fire.

Minneapolis architect Leroy Buffington patented the concept of a steel framed tall building in 1888, proposing a 28-story “stratosphere-scraper.” The architectural news ridiculed the idea, but it got the attention of William Le Baron Jenney. Jenney built the Home Insurance Building at Adams and LaSalle in Chicago, as the first steel framed skyscraper. The concept of a steel framed building concerned city officials, causing them to halt construction while they conducted a safety inspection.
Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye (1928-1931)
Steel framing solved weight and load problems. The Home Insurance Building was a third of the weight of a comparable stone building. Buildings could float. Architecture could get artistic.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, was the sort of artist who was told to not be an artist, so he became an architect. Taking advantage of the advancements in steel framing, Le Corbusier wanted buildings to rest on stilts, appearing to float. Adding to the external airiness, the inside of the building would be free from supporting columns -- an open floor plan. And ribbon windows added to the lightness of the structures.

Villa Savoye became the most famous of Le Corbusier's works and an icon of modern architecture.

Introducing James Stageberg

Stageberg's the name, and architecture's the game,” James Stageberg would introduce himself... all the time.

James Stageberg (1925-2010) was an architect, University of Minnesota professor, lead architect, and architect-partner with Tom Hodne from 1968 to 1982 in Minneapolis' Dinkytown. He would doodle architectural sketches on the bus to work.

sketch of the Southdale Hennepin Area Library

James Stageberg designed the Southdale Hennepin Area Library as an homage to Le Corbusier and Villa Savoye, taken to a whole other level.

For architect fees of $152,234, Minnesota and the south Hennepin County area received a jewel on the librarian landscape. The snow white walls rose up on white stilts from the former gravel pit turned parking lot. Rows of rose-colored windows mirrored commercial Southdale on the outside, while the tinted glass protected the 120,000 volumes on the inside. Up on the roof top, a second tier roof protected centrally-located skylights, washing light over the hexagonal-ottomans in the second level reading area, with extra light pouring down the stairway to the first floor.

The pixellating, Seurat-like red-blue-navy carpet had an electric purple effect on the eyes.

Southdale Hennepin Area Library carpet 
Southdale Hennepin Area Library baseball-mitt chair
A huge leather-baseball-mitt chair was the best seat in the house.
Interior designer Paula Vesely decked the library with $234,682 furnishings & equipment, including $30,000 of audio-visual equipment money that provided “the most sophisticated range of audio-visual facilities and resources of any public library in the country.”

The brochure from the July 25, 1973 opening emphasizes “Southdale-Hennepin is not a research library.” (pdf)

Music Association: David Bowie - Modern Love

A Page Hovers in an Open Book

“A Page Hovers in an Open Book”
November 3, 2017

A page hovers in an open book
a window to another world
a rose-tinted mirror reflecting back
waiting to be uncurled

Pages nearby are read and unread
propped on arms or legs
in motion and never moving
easy and also easel

Books are easy to put down
like a loyal dog they will wait
at rest but never resting
a library waiting for your return.

Music Association:  Bob Seger - Turn The Page
“A Page Hovers in an Open Book” is © Copyright by the author of Hopes and Dreams, like all the rest of this stuff.

Hopes and Dreams

November 1, 2017

Hennepin County Library at Southdale

Music Association: Genesis - Throwing It All Away

Climate Solutions

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