I grew up in the 90s when social media and smartphones weren't a thing. Instead, my friends and I would gather at the mall to hang out, stay updated on the latest fashion, sift through stacks of CDs, and enjoy tasty treats like cinnamon and sugar-coated pretzels, and orange chicken.

Our generation considered the mall the ultimate hangout spot, but in the past few decades, shopping malls have been dying. It's sad to step into some of them and see numerous vacant spaces where businesses once thrived. However, there's a glimmer of hope as one company is investing $400 million into one Minnesota shopping center, aiming to create the mall of the future.

How Many Malls Are Left?

A Business Insider report says there are only 700 malls in the United States and that number could shrink to 150 over the next 10 years according to Nick Egelanian, president of retail consulting firm SiteWorks.

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The company that owns the oldest shopping mall in the United States, located in Minnesota, is looking to reverse that trend. Simon Property, which owns almost 100 malls and numerous outlet centers across the United States, has made a major investment to create a futuristic mall experience in Minnesota.

Southdale Mall
Southdale Mall
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Jonathan Murphy, Co-President of Simon’s Mall Platform, said, “Simon is revolutionizing today’s retail landscape with the strategic transformation of key properties across the country into best-in-class lifestyle destinations.”

$400 Million Investment To Create The Mall of the Future in Minnesota

In 1956, the Southdale Mall in Edina made history as the first fully enclosed, climate-controlled shopping mall in the United States. This innovative idea was quickly adopted by others nationwide. Southdale Mall is setting the stage again, possibly creating a plan for other mall owners to follow.

Southdale Mall
Southdale Mall
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The transformation began a decade ago when the mall added upscale apartments and a premium athletic club. The LifeTime Club, which has four floors, a rooftop beach club, large workspaces, and recreational fields for impromptu games, has become a hotspot, especially with the rising popularity of its pickleball courts.

The goal is to create a "gathering place for the community to live, work, dine, play, and shop."

This year, Southdale is adding a mini-golf course, a grocery store, and a lineup of luxury brands. Some of the most famous fashion brands like Gucci, Moncler, and Max Mara will be available later this year.  Burberry, Coach, and Kate Spade are scheduled to open in 2025.

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Gallery Credit: Samm Adams