EDINA, MN-Southdale, reputedly the nation’s first enclosed mall, isbuilding a 120,000-sf addition to house a newstadium-style movie theater and two sit-downrestaurants; key ingredients in what amounts to acomplete makeover.The Edina, MN-based shopping center has won cityapprovals to add the new wing. Meanwhile, the mall hasplans to create a 40,000-sf wing on its thirdlevel with stores that appeal to the “Generation Y”crowd kids between the ages of six and 21 years old,says Christopher Cummins, the general manager of themall.

Inspiration for the Generation Y theme is GlendaleGalleria, a regional mall in California that in Juneopened a Generation Y-oriented retail district calledThe Zone. It features such retailers HotTopic, Cat Walk, Van’s and Juxtapose, as well as “E Station,” a place for kids to hang out and “Channel Z,” a network of interactive video screens that alsohave teenage-oriented programming. So far, Southdalehas signed a shoe retailer called Journeys Shoes, butis not ready to announce other retailers for thisarea.

“We felt we need to be re-energized,” Cummins says.Generation Y is comprised of some 60 million Americansborn between 1979 and 1994, says Annette Bethers,senior marketing director of Glendale Galleria, the1.47 million sf mall that is managed byDonahue Schriber. Market research showed that theseshoppers on average each spend from $2,700 to $3,000 ayear and rated going to Glendale Galleria as one oftheir favorite pastimes.

Southdale has spend much of the last few yearsclearing out space, and some tenants, inanticipation of adding a movie theater as well asattracting new retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch(113,000 sf), American Eagle (6,000 sf), andChildren’s Place (4,000 sf), all of whom recently haveopened stores there. As a result, about 20% of the mall’s 1.26 million sf area areavailable for lease (the mall has an additional 450,000sf devoted to common area, shipping docks,and so on). That’s why mall officials have made ittheir goal to sign 34 new stores next year, especiallysince they are now going to put the movie theater andrestaurants in a brand-new wing.

Although the deals haven’t been signed yet, it’srumored that Atlanta-based Megastar Cinema, which isbuilding a stadium-style theater as part of a newphase of Arbor Lakes shopping complex in Maple Grove,will build a 16-screen theater at Southdale. One ofthe two restaurants rumored to be close to inking adeal is Calabasas Hills, CA-based Cheesecake Factory,one of the hottest restaurant chains in the countrywith 40 stores in 20 markets.

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