There’s more to life than retail

Minneapolis and St. Paul have teamed up for a new slogan to market the two cities: “There’s more to life!

What? Was “For Lease” already taken?

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Normally it’s not a big deal when a Foot Locker store closes, but it was a big deal this week when the last remaining retail store (that doesn’t sell lottery tickets or coffee) closed its doors in St. Paul’s Town Square.

It’s difficult to overstate how empty the St. Paul skyway system is. Even these pictures from a 30-minute walk through the heart of the system today don’t tell the complete story.

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The AT&T store closed a couple of months ago in Town Square.

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This hair salon around the corner went belly up this month.

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I couldn’t stand back far enough to get all of the empty storefronts into this picture. In a few months, the people walking by may be delegates or media in town for the Republican National Convention. What will they be telling the people back home about downtown St. Paul?

At 5th and Robert downtown, every building seemed to have the same sign:

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No doubt, St. Paul is a pretty cool place with some nice restaurants, some great museums, wonderful architecture and nifty neighborhoods. The downtown skyway scene, however, is not screaming “vibrant.”

  • Cee

    Looks like there is plenty of space for selling pickle loaf and possibly some salami without the use of want ads.

    (Collins: None of which makes sense to those who aren’t fans of the Current.)

  • c

    The skyway system is merely for keeping warm while walking from Mears Park to the Landmark Center. However, a pickleloaf salami sandwich would be a nice stop en route.

  • Cee

    I believe in the power of cross marketing

  • c

    Bob-perhaps that new shopping mall in Woodbury can be persuaded to take up the empty spaces in the skyway downtown. I have over heard residents of Woodbury complain that there is no Downtown in Woodbury….perhaps they can make their Downtown Woodbury…downtown.

  • G-Man

    The central corridor LRT – from Minneapolis to St Paul – should be renamed “The LRT to Nowhere”.

  • Bob Collins

    The comment on the suburbs is interesting. The suburbs have no downtowns but they’ve got plenty of retail. The city has no retail, but plenty of downtown.

    Maybe St. Paul’s downtown is now Grand Ave.?

    Still, it’s hard to figure. They’ve been building parking garages like crazy downtown, so people must be there… working. There’s lots of action at lunch, and by 2p.m. the place is pretty much closed up tight.

    In Chicago in ’96, the mayor knocked down all the eyesore buildings near United Center…put up brand new black iron fences and buckets and buckets of petunias to make the place look decent. I wonder what St. Paul’s plan is.

    Asking around.

  • C

    NIGHT TIME ROLLER SKATING IN THE SKYWAY OR PERHAPS THEY TURN “TOWNCENTER” INTO A ROLLER RINK SKATE BOARD PARK AFTERSCHOOL SOMETHING?

    OR

    THEY CONTINUE TO JUST TURN OFF THE LIGHTS AFTER 5PM.

  • bsimon

    They could do more bike races in the skyway. Perhaps a weekly series?

  • C

    OK

    I GOT IT.

    TOWN CENTER BECOMES “ART’S SKATE PARK” (HECK YA GOT THE POLICE RIGHT THERE TO MONITER)

    AFTERSCHOOL SKATING, SUGAR SHOP/MALT SHOP AND THE CURRENT PIPES THIER MUSIC IN

    OR EVEN BETTER-

    MARY LUCIA BROADCASTS LIVE FROM THERE

  • http://www.visi.com/~corwin/polblog corwin

    Back when I was working in Downtown St Paul I’d heard that a certain Mayor (now Senator) took exception to the fact that 2nd floor retail space in Downtown Minneapolis leased for more than street level. When the Lawson building went in, the skyway connection there dumped straight into the parking garage and down to the street. The most significant addition to the skyway system I remember was connecting the Xcel Center to a tunnel that, by way of an elevator, eventually leads to the Downtown Radisson. A handy traffic pattern for high-school tournament season, and the upcoming RNC

    I have to wonder if City Hall was somehow discouraging development of the skyway system.