In Edina City Manager Scott Neal’s March 9 Friday Report:
Southdale TIF District – Staff are working with our consultant team to prepare the necessary documents and maps for the City to establish a new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District around Southdale Center. We will present the maps and documents to the Council in the next two weeks and will ask the Council to take action at its March 20 meeting to set a public hearing for April 17 to create the TIF district and, possibly, to approve a development agreement with Simon Properties.
Here’s the HRA Resolution 2012-5 document from the March 20 council meeting. The Council approved setting a public hearing for the April 17 Council meeting.
In Edina City Manager Scott Neal’s March 23 Friday Report:
Southdale TIF District – Staff and consultants will brief Council Members on the proposed development agreement with Simon Properties in a special work session on Tuesday, March 27, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Mayor’s Conference Room.
In this StarTribune article about the Maplewood Mall (another Simon Properties mall):
Meanwhile, work continues at Southdale. The Edina project includes a new concourse, food court, entrances, elevators, stairs and other mall finishes, including painting over the teal-colored trim that evokes a strong 1980s flashback.
Unlike Maplewood Mall, which did not seek any public subsidies, Simon has requested financing assistance from the city of Edina. According to a proposed development agreement, the package would include a no-interest $5 million loan that would be paid back over an eight-year period. City documents state that Simon would be required to spend at least $14 million on common-area renovations to the mall to qualify for the loan. The project will be voted on at the City Council’s April 17 meeting.
[reposted from my blog here]
There’s an article in today’s Star Tribune called “A role of the dice at Southdale” by Thomas Lee. The article focuses on the role the new Hergberger’s department store will play in the future success of Southdale Center Mall. Later in the article there is a discussion about the potential incentive deal the City and Simon Properties (the owner of Southdale Mall) are discussing that might result in an even bigger & better improvement at Southdale, primarily (but not exclusively) on the inside of the mall.
It would not be appropriate to comment too much on the status of those discussions between the City and Simon, but I can confirm the conversations are taking place. I can also say the conversations are complicated – for both parties. They’re complicated for the City because City officials are receiving a lot of mixed feedback about whether we should incent Simon to do anything; or, whether we can really incent them to do anything. They are a multibillion dollar corporation. Does their willingness to improve Southdale really tip on whether the city government of Edina will give them a $5 million dollar grant or loan? That’s something we have to evaluate.
The recent flap about Ralph’s Shoe Repair is also adding to complication to the discussion. Is it the role of the city government to step into a mediating role between the mall and one of its tenants? I would say that it is not, but the fact that the issue is in the air right now is going to get into our discussion at some point. I’m not sure how, but I’m sure it will.
We’re going to keep talking to Simon until we frustrate them or we make a deal. As long as both parties are talking, anything can happen.
I’ll be teaming up with Edina City Manager Scott Neal this week to host a live text chat about all things related to Southdale Center’s economic development.
Use the form below to email yourself a reminder about the event’s date/start time: Wednesday, June 29, 3-4 pm.
If you can’t attend the live event:
- Submit a question for Scott ahead of time by attaching a comment below to this blog post
- Come back anytime after the event is over to read the transcript
Does Southdale Mall = Edina? Are the two reputations inexorably linked? If the mall’s reputation has faltered, does that also mean that Edina’s… I can’t finish that question.
The City Council had this very discussion at one of their pre-meeting Work Sessions earlier this year. I think it was Council Member Mary Brindle who first raised the concern. Her point was that we (we being the elected and appointed representatives of the City of Edina who like to refer to ourselves in eloquent shorthand as “The City”) ought to engage with Simon Property Group (owners of Southdale Center) to help them bring their mall back to prominence because their mall is “our mall”. The reputation of their mall is our reputation, perhaps.
So goes the future of Southdale Center, so goes the future of Edina? That’s a question, not a statement. I’m interested in having some online dialog with Edina residents about this question. I am interested in how residents – new and old – feel about this subject. Those feelings could have some real impact on how the City interacts with Simon Property Group. Should the City help Simon? Should the City let the free market dictate the future of the mall? There are potentially millions of dollars at stake.
Let’s talk about it. Keep an eye on this space for a future announcement of some online forums that I will be participating in to talk about the Southdale Question. It’s interesting. And, it’s important. Join us!
You might think that the fact that the State Legislature and the Governor agreed to extend the Tax Increment Financing law (see my June 1 blog post) that was at the crux of the City’s ability to (possibly) assist a major improvement project at Southdale Center with public financing might take the pressure off the City and Simon Properties making a deal. Well, you might be right. It has, just a little.
But we are continuing to examine our options and to engage Simon with ideas. One such idea is a redesign of how Metro Transit serves Southdale. The attached drawing/map (PDF) is a possible rearrangement of how transit riders might access transit services at Southdale. (Note that the map is rotated: north is towards the right, not the top.)
It’s not a done deal. I would call it more of a starting point for a conversation. I don’t know enough about transit services at Southdale to have an opinion about this idea yet, but I am running it by our City Planner and our Building Official to see if the City has any regulatory issues with the plan.
Below: A screenshot of Metro Transit’s map of Southdale Center. Their live map is here. Or see this live Google map of the area.
Governor Dayton signed H.F. 1219, the 2011 omnibus technical tax bill, yesterday (Tuesday, May 31). This bill contained a provision extending the jobs bill TIF extensions for economic development districts by one year.
This extension is very good news for the City of Edina. Why?
Because the discussion the City was having with Simon Properties about the future of Southdale hinged on economic development assistance that hinged on this particular economic development program, which was set to expire on June 30, 2011.
The change in the law takes the pressure off to reach an agreement on a rather complex topic in a relatively short period of time. More importantly, it provides the City and Simon more time to have a more deliberative discussion about the future of Southdale and what role – if any – the City will have in creating that future.
It would be a mistake to stop this important discussion because the pressure is off. I contacted my contacts at Simon today to tell them about the extension, but also to tell them that we would continue working with them and, hopefully, move forward with a plan that is good for the City, good for them and good for our taxpayers.
Ever since I started my new job in Edina I’ve been hearing and thinking about the Southdale Center shopping mall. Most of what I’ve been hearing has been sad. There is a palpable sadness in the air that Southdale just isn’t what it used to be. Most of what I’ve been thinking about, however, is hopeful. There is also a sense of hope in the air that maybe Southdale is about to take a turn for the better.
Last week the Edina City Council met with representatives from Simon Property Group, (the owners of Southdale) to discuss the future of the mall. Simon has a plan for making significant improvements to the mall this summer. Some of the improvements are directly related to the conversion of the former Mervyn’s retail space into new retail space for Herberger’s. Some of the improvements are just to make the mall a better place for shoppers to shop, including moving the current food court down to the area outside of J. C. Penney. I think that people are going to like that one.
Part of the Council’s discussion with Simon was about what role the City of Edina might play in the improvement of Southdale. Simon has asked the City for financial assistance in the amount of about $5.3 million dollars. The City Council did not say no. They asked a lot of questions. They made some statements. But they didn’t say no.
They directed City staff to continue talking to Simon representatives to develop the general proposal in more detail. Simon representatives are talking to their corporate leaders in Indianapolis about what their next steps might be. All in all, it was a good meeting. Nobody said no to anything yet, which to me means anything might still happen.
Because Southdale is so much a part of Edina’s identity, it has a unique place among the many places that make up this city. So in that sense, anyone and everyone in the community might have a thing or two to say about how the City works its way through this puzzle: How does the City facilitate the improvement of Southdale Center?
One way that you can help answer that question is by sharing your ideas and suggestions with me and the City Council here on this new Southdale Center Economic Development blogsite. The site will be an online resource area for Edina residents to keep informed about this issue as it develops. It’s likely we’ll have a variety of documents from Simon and we’ll post them all here, along with links to any city-related meeting agendas, minutes, video clips, etc. on the issue.
I’m hoping it will also develop into a participation hub where Edina residents can interact in various ways with each other and with community leaders about the issue. We’ll give you plenty of notice here in the blog about the methods and tools that we’ll use for participation.
Edina’s most valuable asset is the collective brain power of its residents. This new online initiative hopes to harness that to help accomplish an important community good: the rebirth of this country’s original shopping mall, Southdale Center.