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FAREWELL, APACHE PLAZA

Buying new glasses required three trips to that sluttiest of preening commerce emporiums, Rosedale Mall. Rosedale is like the Jan Brady of Minnesota's four "Dales." It can never hope to catch up to Marsha – Southdale Mall, built in 1956, was America's first climate-controlled shopping center sweetheart. Rosedale, why can't you be more like your sister.

Who am I kidding? All the Dales are virtually indistinguishable from my unfortunate "Mall heydey" of the late 1980's: Acres upon acres of Orange Julius stands and unattainable overmakeup'd teen blonde girls.

Minnesota's second mall is another story.

apache_color.gif

Apache Plaza opened its Nordeasterly doors on October 19, 1961. Apparently it was masterminded by these fine gentlemen, quite obviously ahead of their time - note one of them appears to be holding a CD-ROM:

apacheboard.jpg

It was probably a little run down by the early 70's, but I was enchanted by the Mondrian colored tiles and cascading concrete ceiling, a visual game puzzling all around my boredom. I never saw Captain Kangaroo or Marlo Thomas, but I'm certain RC cars and model train shows scrambled my little brain's pleasure center.

The 1984 tornado probably contributed to Apache's eventual demise. I remember touring around with my stepdad the next day, gawking at the destruction. Seeking out the misfortune of others: A favorite Minnesota pasttime!

The last time I visited Apache I could almost see tumbleweeds. I happened by an oddly-placed post office kiosk. The exemplary government worker jumped up from his little television hoping I was an actual customer. Sorry dude, just walking down memory lane. Carry on. Another kiosk had an autographed picture of the Hanson brothers from Slapshot for sale. Perhaps he legends had graced Apache Plaza in 1977?

Now at last Apache returns to rubble until some new hideous commerce emporium rises from its ashes. March 20, 2004, Bulldozer Bash. Music from the Apache Plaza Players!(?)

  • Malls: Death of an American Icon [CNN]
  • City Pages: Best Mall, 2003
  • Recent Past Preservation Network
  • Genius comic filmmakers filmed The Day Robert DeNiro Met James Caan at Apache - I'm hoping to catch this at SXSW.

    March 11, 2004 at 04:08 AM in Art/Design, Local | Permalink

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    Comments

    WOW. Just, WOW. I have an unhealthy fascination with failed modernism. This hits me right here. (sniff)

    Chuck, did you ever know that you're my hero? You are the wind beneath my wings.

    Posted by: Nu Finish at Mar 11, 2004 1:55:21 PM

    I tried to staraoke "Wind Beneath My Wings" last weekend - to hilarious results!

    Posted by: Chuck at Mar 11, 2004 2:47:39 PM

    What an interesting piece. I too have facination with failed modernism and one of the most heartbreaking for me, was the razing of the Minnegasco Bldg in downtown Minneapolis. Beautiful green/blue glass structure that was so sleek, mod, and simple; you knew it's fate wasn't a good one.
    Apache mall, I only frequented once. I remember the commercial (1978?) at xmas time. The big Santa, many cute little mechanical elves, etc, that I got my parents to drive from West St. Paul to that mall so I could marvel. It was a huge crowd that day we went, and everytime I read about the demise of this mall, I think back to that crazy Saturday. Everything good must end sometime. Please God, don't let Har Mar Mall be next.

    Posted by: Rena at Mar 11, 2004 7:38:30 PM

    Just wanted to say, excellent site, a locky find for me!

    Posted by: zeno at Mar 12, 2004 7:19:35 AM

    I was just a little guy but if I'm not mistaken, didn't the apache have a bowling alley
    in the basement?

    Posted by: Scott at Mar 12, 2004 9:44:35 AM

    If I remember correctly, Apache Plaza had a bowling alley and a bank in its basement.

    I used to go there a lot as a kid with my grandma. They had a machine that played cartoons; you went and sat inside, and for a quarter there was your own private little movie theater. The cartoons were on an endless loop and often started in the middle.

    Posted by: spacewaitress at Mar 14, 2004 10:51:26 PM

    I used to work at Montgomery Ward at Apache
    from 1974-79. It was a fun place to work
    back then. There was a bowling alley and a
    shoe repair shop in the basement. There was
    never a bank there. The closest bank out in
    the parking lot was Midwest Federal, now US
    Bank.

    Posted by: Craig at Mar 20, 2004 9:39:14 PM

    I was there today. I googled Apache today because I was curious if there would be anything on the closing of it, and I found your little tribute here and just thought I'd I'd let you know that I'm thankful people know about the second mall in America closing. It's a very sad event for those of us who grew up here, but I doubt anyone else would even know what the heck we're talking about when we speak about Apace Plaza. It will definitly be missed by our little town. But, now, we get to make way for a fucking Wal-Mart. *throws confetti*

    Posted by: Gwyneth at Mar 21, 2004 12:05:52 AM

    Damn, I didnt know they were having a farewell party today? I will never
    forgive myself for missing it! Are they really building a Wal-Mart on
    the site?

    Posted by: Levi at Mar 21, 2004 12:37:25 AM

    The Star Tribune does say Walmart in their
    article. However last night at the event,
    the developer said "big box retailer". The
    retail space allocated for the redeveloped
    site is about half of the land area and the
    rest is housing. Today's Walmarts are even
    larger with a grocery store and a football
    field size parking lot. I wonder how Walmart
    would even fit in that space. It doesn't
    make any sense to me to put another large
    grocery retailer right next to Cub either.

    Posted by: Craig at Mar 21, 2004 9:30:21 AM

    I was alerted of this website by a co-worker of mine. We both work for the engineering consulting firm hired by the City of St. Anthony Village to perform all of the City's infrastructure improvements. I was the lucky one assigned to do the design of 39th Avenue between Stinson Boulevard and Silver Lake Road. Since this reconstruction is part of the entire Apache Plaza site development, I've developed a keen understanding of the intricacies of the proposed Silver Lake Village redevelopment. So, let me give you some insight.

    Yes, there is a Walmart. And yes, like most of you out there, I disagree with the need for new Big Box retailer. However, I have kept an open mind about the alternative: An empty, rotting mall in the middle of an empty parking lot that not only creates an eyesore, but also creates unnecessary amounts of polluted urban runoff, and no green space.

    The new development will not even be centered around Walmart, but rather, a tree-lined street designed to allow for a shopping and residential environment that invites window shopping, on street parking, and recreation within a park that will include two ponds…none of which will become enclosed by chain linked fences. Walmart will occupy the space to the immediate south of the existing Apache Plaza building, and will be accompanied by 6 separate mini-strip malls, to include shops and restaurants, all surrounding the site to actually hide Walmart from the visibility of 39th Avenue and Stinson Boulevard. New condominiums, town houses, and apartments will be located to the west of the mall, along Stinson Boulevard and 39th Avenue. Dividing Walmart and the residential areas, and surrounding 39th Avenue, will be a park with ponds on the north and south of the roadway. Oh, and for those of you who hate parking lots, here's a little information: There will be LESS parking lot space with all the new development than there currently is with the Apache Plaza mall.

    Stay tuned to your local newspapers, and if you have insights about the improvements, or would like to know more, visit the City of St. Anthony Village website, attend their council meetings, and just ask questions. Street construction should begin in mid-May, and I can assure you that I will do my best to create through my engineering designs a streetscape that will appeal to all who come to Silver Lake Village for many years to come.

    Posted by: BC at Mar 21, 2004 4:55:57 PM

    This isnt about "An empty, rotting mall in the middle of an empty parking lot", it's peoples memory about the mall and all the fun times they had! I could go on but whats the point. I might as well tie myself up to the mall in front of the bulldozer! The least you could do "BC", is design some sort of plaque or statue in memory of the mall to be seen and read in the park you plan on designing?

    Thanks

    Posted by: Levi at Mar 21, 2004 10:17:23 PM

    I understand each and every one of your sentiments and memories surrounding Apache Plaza. When I talk about the mall, I am talking about the actual, physical entity that is the building and site. That is what is deteriorating and rotting, and no one can deny that. Believe me when I say that I in no way intended to indicate that your memories and history are rotting too. However, we all can agree that as time moves on, change will inevitably happen. I have a thing for historical preservation, where appropriate, but I also have a penchant for change, especially when it is done tastefully and can benefit the greater portion of society. I will certainly suggest a plaque commemorating Apache Plaza somewhere within the site. I hope to be able to convince developers that concrete walks or parking stalls along 39th Avenue could consist of multi-colored concrete, to reflect the colored tiles that are synonymous with Apache Plaza. And again, I hope that anyone who has concerns about this or any other site development participate in local government, and strive to make your own impact on proposed changes. Websites and blogs are great for communicating views among peers…but action can only achieve results among greater public participation.

    Posted by: BC at Mar 22, 2004 9:05:40 AM

    BC - and everyone - thanks for taking the time to comment here.

    I'm certainly sad to see Apache go, but that building truly has been vacant and deteriorating for years. Northeast is really booming and will hopefully benefit from this new development. (Although I'd rather it didn't include Walmart.)

    A plaque (pat though it is) and multicolored concrete to reflect the old tiles are WONDERFUL ideas. Architecture should reflect and learn from its history, rather than pretend it never happened.

    Did anyone make it to the demolition party?

    Posted by: Chuck at Mar 22, 2004 9:06:23 PM

    Well, I'm glad I came back to this portion of your blog, Chuck.
    I would have liked to have gone to the Buldozer Bash, but I would have felt like an outsider. I did only go there once.
    This little blurb in your blog has really affected me in a way I can't really describe. I've always been nostalgic about architecture, and cried when I saw footage of the demolition of the Curtis Hotel. (What was I like, 8 or something?) Anyway, I hooked up with a link called deadmalls.com. Holy mother-lode. I've never been more sucked into a website since I figured out I could buy crap online. The site is documented "deadmalls" and unfortuneately there are none from MN on their site. (IE Galtier Plaza, Apache, Bandana Square, Midway Shopping Ctr Phase I, Signal Hills SC Phase I & II, World Trade Ctr, Town Square...to name a few) BUT, these essays/tidbits are VERY interesting to read and the photos are interestingly creepy and lonely.

    Posted by: rena at Mar 22, 2004 11:42:05 PM

    Hello!

    I am the webmaster for www.apacheplaza.com. This blog has been great reading! For those of you who couldn't make it to the "Bulldozer Bash" on 3/20, it was a great (although sad) event. I literally haven't seen so many people in Apache since I was a kid in the 70's. It's estimated that over 4,000 people showed up on the 20th to say goodbye to Apache.

    For the trivia buffs, Apache Plaza was the 2nd enclosed shopping center in Minnesota, but not in America. Southdale was the first in the country, but quite a few others were opened in various states before Apache opened in 1961. Having said this, I doubt that any were as glorious as Apache was in its heyday :).

    Thanks again!!

    Jeff
    apacheplaza.com

    Posted by: Jeff at Apr 4, 2004 6:52:48 PM

    hey Jeff - thanks for stopping by with a recap! Oops, thanks for that correction too. Nice work on the Apache site. I found your link there to these Bulldozer Bash photos. Farewell Apache 1.0.

    Posted by: Chuck at Apr 5, 2004 2:25:49 AM

    Another little chunk of history to be gone. Such is life.
    The Irondale class of 1980 held their All-Night Graduation party in the bowling alley of Apache and it was sooo ... bonding. All of us there in this kind of odd place that we all grew up knowing: getting shoes there w/moms, seeing Santa, going to ROCK and MINERAL SHOWS, eating pink hot dogs. If I ever thought I'd be too cool for that, I'd be lying.
    What I remember most from that night (all planned out for us, so we wouldn't be out driving drunk, killing one another), was waiting for the orange buses to come pick us up the next morning. School was out forever. Most of us would never see one another again after that long night in the mall's basement.

    Posted by: Diane at Apr 10, 2004 4:49:24 PM

    Being a member of a neighboring community (Columbia Heights), I am concerned with what happens to Apache. I only live 3 blocks from the site. I looked through all the development plans, minutes of the City Council meetings and minutes of the Planning Committee. No where did I find mention of a Walmart. I sent an email to all the city council members and the Mayor asking if the rumor about Walmart was true. All of the responses I received were either very defensive or just passed me on to the developer. The view expressed seem to indicate it was between the developer and the prospective tenant, not the city. I do not welcome a Walmart to this development. We do not look forward to the traffic it is going to generate in our area. I liked it better as this project started out, focused primarily on residential property.

    Posted by: Ray at Apr 12, 2004 1:22:48 PM

    I find it completely disturbing that common citizens are left in the dark regarding a Wal-Mart planting itself in their neighborhood. Even when folks are attending city council and committee meetings, as Ray has done. I believe the "city" isn't owning up to their responsibility. They knew what they were doing, and had figured all negativity would disipate once the Wal-Mart was actually built. This has to be happening across the country and it's certainly bewildering to say the least. Everyone hates Wal-Mart, but everyone wants them to be a part of their Big-Box Players.

    Posted by: rena at Apr 13, 2004 9:36:15 AM

    You have to understand the history of St. Anthony to understand why Apache is being destroyed and Silver Lake Village is being born.

    St. Anthony is a first-ring suburb of working class NE Minneapolis. It was developed in the 50's and 60's as a move-up bedroom community for the WWII generation, with very little commercial (Metronics an exception) and retail business. Yes, there were some business owners who lived there. But certainly not level of well to do like those in Golden Valley or Edina.
    Anyways, Apache was built to latch on to the idea of an enclosed shopping mall, and was to become the "downtown" of a mid-century suburb. It comprises about 1/8 of the land area of the 2 square mile city - a fairly large percentage.

    As time marched on, Apache was rendered useless - well before the tornado that eliminated its character. Freeways were built such as 35W and 36, which allowed folks to jump in their car and drive places quickly. (Apache has no immediate connection to these freeways). Competition in the form of the Rosedale (closer) and Brookdale and Northdale drew the big names in retailing concepts. Apache slid into being just another neighborhood strip mall in the 70's - it did not attract anyone except those who lived nearby. This was just fine for the "greatest generation" residents who mostly founded the city.

    Corporations have always been few in the Village. Medtronics would leave in time.
    Then, in 1984, the big Tornado (which killed 1 St. Anthony resident) happened. All the colorful glass, which people mention, was destroyed. All that was left was the cool central court ceiling. That was it. The building was remodeled in time with the help of disaster funds. The remodel was ugly, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the aging population and weak city council of the time missed a great opportunity to redevelop this area. However, this was the early and mid-80's and young people (baby boomers) were moving their new families into outer ring suburbs and abandoning St. Anthony. There just wasn't much interest.

    St. Anthony has finally awakened over the last 5 years to realize it had better revitalize itself. With the limited tax funds in retail and commercial businesses, the tax burden on property owners is very high - amongst the highest in the state. Strengthening the retail business and adding new homeowners and new housing stock will only help St. Anthony.
    The development will feature 25,000 square feet of office space, 219,300 square feet of new retail shopping, 336 urban flat units, 220 apartment units, 80 senior cooperative units, 26 townhome units, and a 5.6-acre park feature with ponds and trails. There will be affordable housing as well.

    St. Anthony is being reborn!

    We have a very strong city council, who are not evil people. So don't make them out as such. The reality is that developers are the companies who get retailers interested. Yes, Wal-Mart is a necessary evil - Target is the closest competition (at the Quarry) and they see the NE Mpls market and Columbia Heights market. If you don't like their non-union stance, just take a look at other retailers like Whole Foods...who don't allow labor unions.

    Citizens are not being kept in the dark here in the Village. They can call the developer any time they like. Pratt-Ordway is their name.

    And if you don't live in the Village and don't like what we're doing, I guess you're entitled to your opinion. Go hang out at your dead KMart on Central Avenue.

    I've said enough,

    EJ, St. Anthony Resident

    Posted by: EJ at Apr 21, 2004 10:06:22 AM

    Regarding the dead KMart on Central Ave. It is slated for demolition this month with the site being redeveloped as housing. It was not viewed as a commercially viable parcel of land anymore. Funny, as commercial property goes, it was much better situated than Apache Plaza (for all the reasons you mention). At least it did not take 25 years to re-develop the site.

    Even as a supporter, you do not seem to view Walmart in a very positive way (a necessary evil).

    Posted by: Ray at Apr 26, 2004 2:40:07 PM

    "Strengthening the retail business" is hogwash where Wal-Mart is concerned, EJ. Wal-Mart chews up and spits out everything in its path. I'm all for "revitalizing" a dead space. But to include Wal-Mart in such a plan makes no sense.

    Posted by: Rena at Apr 27, 2004 8:16:40 AM

    Ray, Apache should been demolished after the Tornado in the mid-80's, no doubt. But the aging population just wasn't motivated.

    Yes, tearing down the KMART is good news for Columbia Heights. Aren't they putting a Sheraton there or some other hotel? There was a Sheraton once up near near 694 where my wedding reception was held!

    Ray, I believe the Kmart failed for mostly the same reasons as Apache. Let's consider...it was never really visible from the road. Plus, there were already established discount retailers on Central Avenue (egads, even back to Zayre's Shopper city) and of course Target. Both those stores are closer to 694 than the Kmart site AND there is a big Wal-Mart AND Sam's Club up near Northtown. Central Avenue isn't a shopping mecca, so it IS like Apache. Throw in the KMart hasn't really succeeded in the Twin Cities for some reason and it's all over.

    Wal-Mart and discount stores like it ARE a necessary evil for this development. They are the current Woolworths, the current trend. They have been the past 20 years. They have withstood the internet which some thought might halt their blanketing of America. If the Apache site were enticing to a developer, what is happening now would have happened naturally a long time ago. This is a development where the developer needs someone BIG who has a need to locate precisely where Apache sits. Geographically, a new Wal-Mart at Apache will be in between THREE Target stores. One at 694 and Central, one at the Quarry, and the Super Target at 694 and Lexington in Shoreview.

    I don't like Wal-Mart all that much. But that's life.

    Rena, please explain why Wal-Mart "makes no sense." What's next in retailing? Figure it out and you're a rich person. Any suggestions on how the development could happen without a BIG BOX retailer?

    Wal-Mart will really only take a bite out of those CORPORATIONS it competes with already (Walgreens, Snyders, Cub Foods) and the Frattalone's hardware store (they have 8 stores or so - I'm not worried about them). They might damage some little guys on Central Avenue, but maybe not since those retailers are mostly specialty. The exceptions I can think of in the Village is the Optrician Hanson down at the Shopping center (he has tripled the size of his shop in the last year - he KNOWS that Wal-Mart is coming!)

    Posted by: EJ at Apr 30, 2004 11:43:34 AM

    This is getting interesting!
    Here's some of the reasons why Wal-mart makes no sense:
    >The average employee makes only $15,000 a yr for full-time work. Most are denied full time status, and reduced to part-time work. WM brags that 70% are full time, but full time is 28 hrs. Gross=$11,000.
    (please see http://www.mcspotlight.org/beyond/companies/antiwalmart.html)

    >Benefits for those employees are only for those dedicated beyond 2 yrs. Then there are huge premiums only 38% can afford them.

    >WM destroys independently owned/operated businesses

    >WM fore-fronted the demise of American factories. Pick up any item from Wal-Mart and you're going to see Made in China almost 100% of the time.

    >WM doesn't embrace an "old-town" shopping experience (cold box that you have to drive to)

    >US future looks grim for those who want to own their own business. WM is advancing that death.

    >The corporate behemoth that is WM, gathers a whopping $7 BILLION a yr in PROFITS. Nothing is given back to the community. This is why I choose Target. Millions over the years have been delivered to local MN schools.

    >Employees are told to hold their pee and obstain from eating. Well, you have to have heard this recent article in the papers.....

    >They sell crap. Doesn't anyone understand the saying, "you get what you pay for?"

    I think you get the idea.
    I don't live in St. Anthony Village, but a mixed use development would have been perfect on the site of Apache Plaza. I guess I was under the impression that they were going to recreate a "main street" style development, until i started hearing about the big-box theory. Somehow, this idea is hot across the United States. Places like Cincinatti, Buffalo NY, Eugene OR, and Maple GRove MN are building such developments. Maybe it's not for the clientele that makes up St. Anthony Village, but I strongly feel that the town didn't work hard enough to stratigize it's market shoppers. Wal-Mart was an easy band-aid for Apache.

    Posted by: Rena at Apr 30, 2004 11:13:17 PM

    These snipets were taken from the site
    http://www.mcspotlight.org/beyond/companies/antiwalmart.html

    Even the big boys like Toys R Us and Kroger are daunted by the company’s brutish power, saying they’re compelled to slash wages and search the globe for sweatshop suppliers in order to compete in the downward race to match Wal-Mart’s prices.

    How high a price are we willing to pay for Wal-Mart’s "low-price" model? This outfit operates with an avarice, arrogance, and ambition that would make Enron blush. It hits a town or city neighborhood like a retailing neutron bomb, sucking out the economic vitality and all of the local character. And Wal-Mart’s stores now have more kill-power than ever, with its Supercenters averaging 200,000 square feet-the size of more than four football fields under one roof! These things land splat on top of any community’s sense of itself and devour local business.

    By slashing its retail prices way below cost when it enters a community, Wal-Mart can crush our groceries, pharmacies, hardware stores, and other retailers, then raise its prices once it has monopoly control over the market.

    Posted by: Rena at Apr 30, 2004 11:36:24 PM

    Thank you Craig and Rena for your insights on the past, present and future of the Apache site. I recently moved to the area (just blocks away from Apache) and was excited to see the redevelopment get underway, which will hopefully be good for the value of my house. The 39th street redevelopment and the new park look really nice, so kudos on that.

    I haven't taken an objective look into the "evils" of Wal-Mart, but I think a large brand-name retail anchor is necessary. I originally heard it was going to be a Lowe's home store, which would have been great. Do you know anything about the smaller retailers coming in? In my opinion, the area is perfect for a large bookstore, either a chain like Borders/B&N or a large independent in the vein of Bound to Be Read in St. Paul. You know, a large "destination" type bookstore with a cafe and such, which would be a draw for all ages at all times of the day.

    I look forward to watching the site transform into the new Silver Lake Village--they've already completed the demolition and debris cleanup in less than a month. Think about that--they tore down and carted away an entire shopping mall in just a few weeks!

    Posted by: drf at May 13, 2004 3:18:30 PM

    I am also sad that apache is gone but look forward to the future with open arms. I think a walmart is a good idea! It will create more jobs for the people who live nearby and more places to go. The city of st.anthony needs change! THey have been so set in their ways for years that they never seen the fact that their community was going elsewhere to spend their money!

    Posted by: Shannon at May 13, 2004 6:04:26 PM

    Rena - If you don't live in St Anthony, then how do you know that effort was not put forth at all levels to come up with the best answer? Maybe you have informants about how lazy the city council is or how evil the developer is. Please explain your clairvoyance.

    This isn't a simple issue. Why don't you clip and paste your own thoughts?

    Beat 'em or Join 'em. The reality is Wal-Mart rules. If you want to stop them, then you're 25 years too late.

    St Anthony retail was DEAD. How DEAD did you want it? Is an entirely vacant mall except for Herbergers (had basically free rent) and Anderson's Furniture (made in china furniture).

    Look, I like mixed-use retail (which is hot nationally) which translates to apartments over retail, but we must be REALISTIC as to who would live in St Anthony and what type of retail could exist here. (For those who wish to learn about mixed use, see the September issue of "Apartment Finance Today"

    This is business! Do you understand? A city is a business!

    1 - Wal-Mart is in business to compete with who? Cub (giant corporation) Target (giant corporation) Walgreens (giant corporation) and the rest of the big box retailers.

    2 - Wal-Mart competes with local businesses. Yes, it will hurt some. But so would another small local business if they chose to start. THAT'S THE AMERICAN WAY!

    3 - Wal-Mart has low prices, but ANYONE with a computer in the country can buy for less ONLINE! So with your logic, we must shut down the internet.

    4 - Wal-Mart is the made in China store. Yes, some stuff is junk. But not all. And let the buyer beware - that's life.

    5 - If someone has a skillset which only allows them to work at Wal-Mart, then they must deal with reality. Reality without skills in America are low wages. We aren't socialists, we are capitalists. Now, the low paid worker has all the opportunity to learn new skills and get a better paying job. They are not conscripted to work at Wal-Mart. And the worker can quit anytime they like.

    I suggest, Rena, that you read Sam Walton's biography, "Made in America."

    DRF - Welcome to the community. I'm glad we have new folks like you around. You heard Lowe's because they would be a good foil for Home Depot. You obviously have been around the country a bit. Unfortunately, book sellers don't look to be anchors in a new development. You know, there are 2 B/N's within a short drive in Roseville.

    SHANNON - You are right, St Anthony has finally got a council over the past 5 years which decided to move away from the ugly past of Apache. We're going to have fun!

    Posted by: EJ at May 14, 2004 8:04:42 AM

    Gosh, maybe I should do a Walmart documentary. I'd be interested to compare prices and a sample of various products at Walmart vs. other area retailers - does it change over time? What is the impact? And talk to employees, follow a couple of them over time. Not to mention you folks in the community.

    Then again, I don't want to be the Guy That Gets Sued By Walmart. Squish!

    Posted by: Chuck at May 14, 2004 2:06:54 PM

    Regarding your first question, EJ, I was feeding off of "Ray's" response (April 12, 2004)in this section of the blog.

    Target is bad.
    Walgreens is bad.
    Best Buy is bad.
    Wal-Mart is the death of independently owned and operated stores. Wal-Mart is a vacuum.
    THIS is what makes my blood boil.
    Big corporations are bad, but I'm sorry, Wal-Mart is the mother-lode of evil.
    I'm not all talk, no action here, Mr. EJ.
    I go OUT OF MY WAY to buy my music at hole in the wall record shops (yes, I buy RECORDS), I buy almost all my books USED!!!, My clothing does not come from Target or Mervyn's but from thrift/vintage clothing stores. I use an independent pharmacy in my neighborhood that will be threatened by a CVS planting itself less than a mile away. I was even a VERY dedicated customer of Tracy 1 Stop gas station (RIP/now a Holiday) in St. Paul because it was a mom and pop shop.
    But, there are times when my neighborhood hardware store doesn't have the type of screen I need or my child needs medicine (and it's after 7) and I do go to Target or Home Depot. My point is, I try the independent FIRST. Plus, I stated why I choose Target over Wal-Mart in one of the above sections I wrote. I just don't believe in WAL-MART'S ETHICS.
    I believe in some of what you're saying about workers gaining experience and all, but I'm not a 100% with you. Sometimes "the worker cannot quit anytime they like."

    Yes, Shannon. Wal-Mart will be a-bringin' them jobs---While forcing the people who initially built St. Anthony (not talking Apache workers) to close up their life-long businesses.--IF there are any left. What do you mean when you say, "more places to go?"----Everything will be in one box.

    Just a side note: Unfortuneately walmarts are everywhere, and St. Anthony will have one. So this means only the people from St. Anthony and maybe Columbia Heights will shop there. Moreover, there's nothing of distinction to bring my ass from St. Paul to St. Anthony. Ironically, this leads to my one and only trip to Apache when I was a kid. I grew up in West St. Paul and we went to Apache because it was Different....and I wanted to see Santa because I saw the commerical on tv. ...I could've gone to Signal Hills mall or downtown STP Daytons, but I made my parents drive all the way out there 'cause it looked cool.

    Posted by: Rena at May 14, 2004 11:12:41 PM

    The bare bones truth is that Walmarts exist because of the consumer. If consumers stopped shopping at Walmart they would be forced to shut down. The power of the dollar is what drives our society. Also, this notion that Walmart should be praised for all the "new jobs" they're bringing to St Anthony is crap. Virtually ANY business in Walmart's slot would be creating new jobs. The point I'm trying to make is that consumers need to think about where they shop and why. Make your choices wisely. Personally, I don't plan to give Walmart a cent.

    Thanks everyone for the discussion!

    Posted by: jeff at May 17, 2004 9:24:16 AM

    Rena - I applaud that you put your money where your mouth is. Most don't. Do you shop records at Hymie's? I have...but usually I pay more there than I can elsewhere.

    I think you ought to move to another non-caplitalist country. You'd be happier in Vancouver. I suggest you read Ad-Busters magazine and believe every word.

    Have you considered all the goods which people can now afford because of the discount retailers? We have it pretty good.

    I call Wal-Mart the "Made in China" store.

    Does Wal-Mart have a conscripted labor policy? Get real.

    Does Whole Foods have a labor union? Oh my gosh, a liberal CORPORATION that is anti-labor! (Hey Kerry - how's your SUV!)

    Posted by: EJ at May 19, 2004 5:47:54 PM

    When the redevelopment of Apache started, I do not recall there being any "big box" retail in the mix. That seems to have crept in along the way. The initial announcements from when the redevelopment contract was awarded indicated 78,000 square feet of retail space. That original total is half of what is now dedicated to "discount retail". The plan that was approved in September 2003 grew to 219,300 square feet of retail. Also, Pratt Ordway was chosen for their experience in mixed use development such as Main Street Village in New Brighton. Walmart amid housing is surely mixed use of a piece of property but that is not what is generally accepted as the definition of that term. A lot of value seems to have been put in the walk up businesses and street level merchants. People do not "walk" to Walmart. If they do, they are the ones that take the shopping carts and leave them on the street 3/4 of a mile from the store, an endless problem in the area in Northeast Minneapolis surrounding the Quarry.

    Sure the development looks good on paper with ponds and trails. They are really just landscaped storm water impoundments for the Walmart parking lot. I agree, they will look a lot better than the "ponds" on the property now with the chain link fence around them to keep kids from drowning in them. Where the park and pond are located are now on the back side of the proposed Walmart. This is like having a nature center up along a freeway noise abatement wall. We'll see how park like it all remains once all the garbage blows off of the Walmart parking lot in to the ponds.

    I do agree, Walmart is one of the main economic engines for job creation, jobs in Asia and other third world countries that is. They will bring new jobs to the area but they will be low payed, poor benefit jobs. Someone working full time at Walmart could probably not afford to own a house in Saint Anthony.

    I agree that Walmart will primarily be competition against the other big retail corporations like Cub and Walgreens. They seem to be successful in this corner of Saint Anthony so it makes sense to plop a big Walmart right in between them and drive them out? If expanding the commercial tax base of Saint Anthony was the main intent, maybe they should have just dedicated the entire site to one of the megalithic Walmart Supercenter/Sams Club combos they build elsewhere.
    Large retail has already proven to be a failure at Apache, why go that route again.

    Walmart is just the second tornado to hit Apache.

    I will also put my money where my mouth is. My family has no intent of shopping at Walmart. We disagree with everything they stand for. I will just now have to live in their "large" shadow.

    Posted by: ray at May 20, 2004 8:47:49 AM

    As much as I'd love to live in Canada, I'm an American citizen.----Living MY american dream. The whole point. I have the freedom to shop where I want and to choose where I spend my money.

    I will check out AdBusters, sounds interesting.

    I buy most of my records from Root Cellar Records, I've purchased some from Hymies over the years. Electric Fetus and Treehouse are good ones too.

    I am bewildered at Whole Foods and their anti-union stance. But I know a few people that work/ed there, and the profit sharing is QUITE AMAZING. At least they have that going for them. There was a goal set by the company for profit growth,and when they exceeded that goal---that amount is distributed to their employees. One friend received $1100 his first year with the company.

    Thanks EJ, for the discussion. (And Ray and others who contributed!)

    Posted by: Rena at May 20, 2004 10:45:07 AM

    Incidentally, the top gun at Best Buy was eligible for a HUGE chunk of stock options but he just passed it onto his employees. Apparently a very rare or unprecedented act among huge corporations.

    And Target gives a lot of money back to the community, particularly education and art programs and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

    But Walmart says "our low prices are our charity."

    AdBusters rocks!

    Rena = commie (just kidding)

    Posted by: Chuck at May 20, 2004 5:07:25 PM

    STORE WARS: When Walmart Comes To Town

    "Every day a new megastore opens somewhere in America. But in Ashland, Virginia (population 7,200), a group of citizens takes on the world's largest retailer along with the town's establishment. STORE WARS follows the controversy that tears the town apart, examining in the process the impact of big-box stores on small town America."

    Communities that have either voted to reject a big-box retail development at least once, or pressured the developer to withdraw.

    Posted by: Chuck at May 20, 2004 7:04:03 PM

    I also think target is a better choice for that reason--giving to local schools. (note blog entry 4/30 11:13)
    Chuck, did you know a Walmart opened just blocks from us? It's nestled itself across Hamline from target, just across from Mervyn's and next to Herberger's, PetSmart and Cub Foods. A couple years from now, I hope that Target still exists. (Otherwise, I'm off to Roseville or NE Quarry)

    I SO applaud Brad Anderson's choice to "give back" to his employees.
    Making money is great, and it's what we have to do to live. However, money and greed are not the reasons why we're here on this planet. Best Buy will be more frequented by my family because of Mr. Anderson's ethics.

    I checked out adbusters online and am running over to shinder's to buy a copy!

    Posted by: Rena at May 21, 2004 7:46:35 AM

    Walmart does not believe in competition, they believe in domination. They have laid waste to small businesses in rural America and have moved in to the suburban fringe. Now they set their sights on the urban core. Lets all applaud them because this is "business". Walmart represents capitalism but they are the poster child for greedy capitalism at its worst.

    Not shopping at Walmart is not a difficult decision for me and my family because we do not value purchasing cheap crap. We do realize that we could save money on day to day items like toilet paper and other things but we refuse to give Walmart our business. Having one 1/2 mile from our house will not change that. Walmart is the major driving force in the revolution of cheap manufactured goods. Sure we can buy a VCR or DVD player for $49 now but they last a year. Not to worry, we'll just buy another one and landfill the old one along with all the other cheap consumer appliances that have a useful lifetime of a year or so. Walmart, along with all the big-box retailers, have the power to shape what manufacturers produce. For example, Home Depot recently "convinced" Toro to produce a cheap line of lawn mowers that they can sell exclusively. The consumer values the Toro name but apparently the company no longer does. Now you just get a red and black mower of the same qaulity that you could buy at Walmart. Walmart has started to dictate the size and shape of packaging that merchandise should be in. In some cases eliminating it altogether. I do not argue that eliminating packaging is a good thing but this is not why Walmart did this. They want to pack as much product on store shelves as possible. These large merchandisers also get the manufacturers to produce cheaper products just for them to offer. The consumer thinks they are getting equivalent merchandise but do not realize they are getting something that has been cheaped out in some way. As was mentioned, let the buyer beware (be afraid, be very afraid). At some point, all that will be left is Walmart and their kind and the consumer will have no choice. We are rapidly approching that situation.

    I will mention that over the years Saint Anthony has been a community where I went to purchase items. When I lived in SE Minneapolis, we did all our grocery shopping in Saint Anthony (I do not even recall the stores name, it was on HWY 88). I sorely miss the old RT Johnson Meat store. I still shopped there after I moved to Saint Paul.
    At least Ready Meats is still going strong in NE Minneapolis. We make an effort to support our local businesses in Columbia Heights and surrounding communities. Many times we pay more for what we purchase but we choose to support our community.

    I was very excited at the prospects for redevelopment at Apache and the initial plans looked very good. Saint Anthony was poised to do something wonderful with this site and has settled for mediocrity.

    Posted by: ray at May 21, 2004 9:21:27 AM

    Ray, I'm so glad to hear there are other folks like you and your family, who stick by their beliefs, as well.
    I particularly enjoyed reading your comments about W-M in the section above this one. I agree this isn't "business". This is nation-domination, with greed its core goal. It's one thing to start a business and compete, but to use unethical tactics to achieve their dominance is not appropriate.
    I drove past my midway W-M and was aghast at the full lot. I don't understand what people don't understand. They will, in time. When Cub, Target, Frank's, etc do not exist. That's when the monopolization will take hold and everyone will be left holding a crumply cerulean blue bag with a smiley face on it.
    They will never get my business.

    Posted by: Rena at May 21, 2004 11:35:46 AM

    Lots of good comments here, and strong opinions on Wal-Mart. I've read a little more on their business practices and am a little disappointed. Actually, to be specific, it's not their business practices per se, as their social and labor practices. These things you can take issue with, but not their business practices. Any large corporation is going to do the same thing Wal-Mart does, in a business sense: build large stores in communities, outpacing local businesses by leveraging brand identity and lower costs.

    What about Home Depot? Ikea? Costco? Gap/Old Navy? All these places represent a similar footprint as Wal-Mart, and all ship their profits out of town while shipping their goods in from out of the country (except Home Depot I guess). I only see an open armed welcome for Ikea, which could obviously put a huge dent in local furniture/houseware stores (I used to shop there all the time before I moved to Mpls).

    I think some of the fears here are a little misdirected, because in St. Anthony's case, there is really no small local retail for Wal-Mart to drive out. There are 2 Home Depots and a Menard's within about 5 minutes, so if they haven't driven Ace Hardware out by now, Wal-Mart probably won't. There are no independent clothing stores, book stores, electronics stores, etc. in the immediate area either. Alternatively, you could just think of Wal-Mart as replacing the K-Mart that was a couple minutes away on Central.

    I'm guessing (hoping) that this Wal-Mart will be a minimal footprint one, which means no grocery section or auto service (Lord knows there are enough of those places on Central and Silver Lake) or other extraneous departments.

    And yes, I derive satisfaction from supporting local businesses, which is easy since there are so many good places on Central.

    Posted by: DRF at May 27, 2004 1:08:53 PM

    LONG LIVE GALTIER PLAZA!

    Posted by: Lucien at Dec 26, 2004 9:47:45 PM

    SCREW "PROGRESS". APACHE PLAZA WAS COOL EXACTLY THE WAY IT WAS - DESERTED AND DESOLATE AND BROKEN DOWN. It was an awesome sight with more character than any new structure could ever hope to have. Why do we always have to tear down cool shit and put in blah shit to replace it? modern developers have no clue. look at the hideous new structures going up in minneapolis. no sense of style at all.

    Posted by: lori at Jan 17, 2005 12:49:19 AM

    OH YEAH - and why does everything have to look all "upscale" these days?
    let's start a DOWNSCALE movement.

    Posted by: lori at Jan 17, 2005 12:52:01 AM

    FYI - there is expected to be an article on the Apache Plaza redevelopment in next Wednesday's Start Tribune (2/2/05).

    Jeff
    www.apcheplaza.com

    Posted by: jeff at Jan 28, 2005 9:46:00 AM

    thanks jeff!

    Posted by: Chuck at Jan 28, 2005 9:58:09 AM

    hi Chuck, and everyone

    I was the manager for the Apachce Shoe Repair in 84-85 (one year from March to March)

    I took a few sojourns through the empty bowels of that huge while on a break or two...
    Do you know that there was enough room down in the basement that they could have raised enough capital by renting it out as a huge garage to pay for many improvements ? maybe enough that they might have saved that relic? I almost fell through a broken part of the floor over in the hardware store area. When I came back with a flashlight, I almost fainted to see how deep and dark it was(put it this way, If I had fallen through, I wouldn't be here to write this story!!!!
    Instead of blaming things on capitalism, blame it on GREED of the former owners who didn't provide much of any money to keep the shoping center upgraded. Like an absentee owner who collects the rent money, but doesn't spend one minute in the neighborhood, doesn't know how bad the property really is, etc.

    There was a great combination of locally owned stores and good national Chain stores like Wards, Pennys, Woolworths, etc.
    There was a time that they had thought of making it survive as an Outlet Mall. But the people who had leases there were upset, thought an outlet mall would be a step down....boy were they wrong, look at all the outlet malls now!

    Times keep a changing....
    I have been in the shoe repair business for many years...How come I don't hear much about saving the enviornment by fixing your footwear?!

    Posted by: Gene at Aug 7, 2006 9:13:30 PM

    Silver Lake Village sucks.

    This is from a earlier post:

    Yes, there is a Walmart. And yes, like most of you out there, I disagree with the need for new Big Box retailer. However, I have kept an open mind about the alternative: An empty, rotting mall in the middle of an empty parking lot that not only creates an eyesore, but also creates unnecessary amounts of polluted urban runoff, and no green space.

    The new development will not even be centered around Walmart, but rather, a tree-lined street designed to allow for a shopping and residential environment that invites window shopping, on street parking, and recreation within a park that will include two ponds…none of which will become enclosed by chain linked fences. Walmart will occupy the space to the immediate south of the existing Apache Plaza building, and will be accompanied by 6 separate mini-strip malls, to include shops and restaurants, all surrounding the site to actually hide Walmart from the visibility of 39th Avenue and Stinson Boulevard. New condominiums, town houses, and apartments will be located to the west of the mall, along Stinson Boulevard and 39th Avenue. Dividing Walmart and the residential areas, and surrounding 39th Avenue, will be a park with ponds on the north and south of the roadway. Oh, and for those of you who hate parking lots, here's a little information: There will be LESS parking lot space with all the new development than there currently is with the Apache Plaza mall.

    Ya I love window shopping in my new "urban village" at...... ah...... Pappa Murphy's?

    And Walmart (which I will not set foot in) is hidden?

    Plus- the only reason that they have the "2 ponds" is because the runoff was going into Silver Lake. They had no choice but to make those "ponds." And what exactly is "recreation"? Am I supposed to walk around the 2 toxic waste dumps?

    I hear the condos are selling real good, I know when I'm ready to move I'm looking for a new home that overlooks the back of a Walmart. Nothing more intresting and beutiful than watching trucks load cheap crap into the retail giant!

    You had a unique building and now it looks like EVERY OTHER PLACE IN THE COUNTRY!

    Posted by: bt hanson at Aug 8, 2006 11:38:29 AM

    I went to Apache with my girlfriends many times in the 60's to go bowling in the basement. Apache had a nice variety of stores and was a beautiful plaza. I still can't understand why it failed.
    I was wondering if anyone remembers the name of the stationary/office supply store on the southwest corner of the mall? The store was there during the 60's and 70's, but I don't know for sure when they closed.

    Posted by: Tom W. at Jan 17, 2008 12:49:52 PM

    Could it have been Nelson's? or St. Paul Book and Stationery?

    Posted by: Rena at Jan 21, 2008 10:07:37 AM