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Kraus-Anderson Begins Demos at Bloomington’s Southtown Shopping Center

MINNEAPOLIS, MN — Kraus-Anderson (KA) Realty & Development has begun to demolish the former Toys R Us and Herberger’s buildings at Southtown Shopping Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. Removal of the outdated buildings marks a step toward re-envisioning Southtown for contemporary uses.

“When Kraus-Anderson built Southtown in 1960, it was adjacent to cow pastures,” said Pete Diessner, President of Kraus-Anderson Realty and Development and COO of Kraus-Anderson Companies. ”But KA, and like many others, could see the potential of this location.”

Located at the corner of I-494 and Penn Avenue South, Southtown opened in November 1960 with tenants that featured a two-story, 150,000-square-foot Montgomery Wards, the largest in the retailer’s chain of 550 nationwide stores; and 44 other variety shops and stores, including Musicland, Red Owl, Walgreens, and Texaco. Abundant with national and regional retailers along with a host of professional services and mom and pop shops, Southtown instantly became a one-stop shop for the burgeoning suburb.

The center has undergone numerous additions and renovations ever since, anticipating and accommodating growth and change.

“Baby boom families, the development of I-494, the emergence and eventual ebb of big box retail, online shopping, a global pandemic, and the Metro Orange line public transit access — Southtown has seen it all, and we’re still here,” Diessner said. “For Kraus-Anderson, Southtown is like a part of the family. It’s shown its ability to survive and thrive through every challenge, and we’re committed to this next chapter.”

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KA will be demolishing the large vacant space on the northeast side of the center, often referred to as the old Herberger’s (originally Montgomery Wards) and Toys R Us space. The barriers and fencing have been installed around the perimeter of the demolition area, and the structural demolition of the building has begun. The demolition phase will take approximately 12 weeks and is expected to be completed at the end of March 2024.

“The demolition team will be working as quickly and safely as possible so they don’t disturb the rest of the shopping center,” said Jeff Hildahl, KA Realty & Development’s Executive Vice President. “The building will be demolished one piece at a time, using excavators and other mechanical equipment. There won’t be any implosions. There won’t be any fireworks. The former Herberger’s building is going, but the bulk of the shopping center will remain, and all those stores will be open during the entire demolition. The building served the community well for 63 years, but the time has come to make room for the next greatest thing.”

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