Anybody been in a city that has too much retail?
Back in the 80s Saint Paul was on a retail spurt. They were trying to draw people downtown more. It really only worked for a short while before people realized that they could just get what they needed at the local mall, even if Saint Paul was fancier. Three major developments were built: Town Square, Minnesota World Trade Center, and Galtier Plaza.
Basically, all of these places ended up bombing. They still exist, though it's creepy walking through a dead mall. They all seem to be in the process of being converted. Galtier is pulling itself up again, though the mall area is filling up with commercial services instead of the high-class boutiques that used to be there.
The Minnesota World Trade Center is now Wells Fargo Place, as Wells Fargo has now taken up most of the old retail space there and converted it to offices.
Town Square is still quite dead. The City of Saint Paul used to operate an indoor park on the top complete with trees, fountains and a carousel but recently pulled out because of the expense (over $1 million a year to operate).
What ultimately killed all of these developments that did thrive at one time was the brand new Mall of America. MOA was heralded with great delight by Bloomington, but was quite controversial for the effects that it would have to the region. And it turns out that what many predicted turned true: Minneapolis and Saint Paul turned into retail ghost towns.
Only in the past couple years has downtown been becoming alive again.
Now, I'd like to point out that the downtowns of the two cities weren't abandoned... they just completely cleaned out after 5 o'clock or so as people headed home.
I'll post some pictures in the photo gallery eventually. I put in a request for a Minneapolis/Saint Paul section to be added as I have many, MANY photos to add and it would be nice to keep the organized.
What are your stories of retail decay?