Due To DFL Control

The Saint Paul Macy’s is closing in March.

Macy’s is closing its St. Paul store this spring, leaving downtown without a major retailer and bringing to a close 50 years of continuous department store operations at the Wabasha Street location.

Store employees were to be told this week that the store will shut down in late March, according to sources who did not want to be named.

On the one hand, it’s not really a surprise.  The place has been a morgue for years.  The only reason it stayed open as long as it did was to stay within the terms of a loan from the city back in 2002.  Since they hit the ten year nut, a few million dollars are going to be forgiven, store or no store.

So to summarize:  No store, no more payback, no anchor retail in downtown Saint Paul.

No nothing.

On some St. Paul list-servers, some DFL-leaning residents are feeling chipper about it: “maybe Target will buy the space?”

I only worked downtown for about four years – but this was actually fairly busy, as I recall.

Nonsense.  Target didn’t get to be a huge retailer by being stupid.  Saint Paul is not a retail destination – if it were, there’d be no such announcement from Macy’s.

(“But Macy’s is just stupid!”, some might respond – but their share value is clipping along rather well, so whatever their other faults, they seem to know a bit about keeping their stores profitable).

I’ll predict the following:

  • If there’s a free-market tenant for the building?  I’ll say look forward to the world’s largest Dollar Tree.  Complete with three floors of parking.
  • But much more likely?  It’ll be rented out to the State of Minnesota, or some other agglomeration of government entities.  Likely as not by consolidating people in from smaller rentals around downtown.

Bottom line?  Six decades of DFL control have left downtown Saint Paul a ghost town, populated only by wan holdouts, scrappy and bargain-hungry small businesses, a few corporations that haven’t quite pulled the trigger on relocation yet, hipsters (waaaaay down by the Farmer’s Market), a few lucky businesses (up by the XCel and the Ordway, assuming hockey comes back someday), a lot of state offices, and – for about a catastrophic third of the office space – nothing at all.

While I realize that St. Paul’s city government – strangled as it’s been by one party rule for sixty years now – didn’t specifically set out to make Downtown into a cold Flint, I have to ask – if they had, how would things be different?

Dear Saint Paul Voters:  Remember that “Definition of Insanity” joke?  Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result?

Pretty funny, huh?


23 thoughts on “Due To DFL Control

  1. If there’s a free-market tenant for the building? I’ll say look forward to the world’s largest Dollar Tree. Complete with three floors of parking.

    I think they should split it up and give a floor to Dollar Tree, one to Family Dollar and one to Dollar General. Let’s settle the Dollar Store supremacy issue once and for all, mano a mano.

    But much more likely? It’ll be rented out to the State of Minnesota, or some other agglomeration of government entities. Likely as not by consolidating people in from smaller rentals around downtown.

    That’s the smart bet. Target won’t buy the space. Remember, Target owned the space but they sold off their department store business to Macy’s years ago. Target runs that downtown store in Mpls. more as a goodwill gesture/laboratory than as a profit center.

  2. We will have to pay a private company to occupy the space, or, the most growing business in the state, GOVERNMENT, will take it over.

  3. Mr. Berg says:

    “The place has been a morgue for years”

    Sounds more like the invisible hand of the free market has spoken.

    “The only reason it stayed open as long as it did was to stay within the terms of a loan from the city back in 2002.”

    Is this a policy created by the DFL?

    Delta (formerly NWA) received all sorts of largess from the state of Mn. The Airbus repair facility in Duluth is one instance. State loans to NWA would be another. Good deal for private enterprise, not so much for the private tax payer

  4. Yes, Emery. If you look at these stupid deals, they were almost always proposed and enacted by the Dems. Another scam on the people of Minnesota, specifically the Iron Range, was perpetrated by Sykes, an outsource call center company. After the IRRRB, which was created by Dem law makers like Tom Rukavina and the State gave them millions via a state of the art facility in Virginia, as well as tax breaks. As soon as Sykes squeezed every last penny out of the deal, they closed up and moved to Fargo to try to screw ND’s tax payers. By my recollection, they exploited a loophole in their contract, which was poorly written by gubmint employees.

  5. bosshoss, I agree. Subsidizing private enterprise never works out well for the taxpayer.

  6. Sounds more like the invisible hand of the free market has spoken

    An invisible hand that’s been nearly amputated by DFL control.

    Is this a policy created by the DFL?

    Intervention is something “progressives” do. I think the Airbus fiasco was Rudy Perpich’s doing – and even if it was Carlson, he was a Democrat in all but name.

    Target Center, XCel Center and the Vikings Stadium? Regrettably bipartisan.

  7. Emery, you’re not thinking like a DFLer. The DFL is Liberal. Liberals believe there is a vast difference between a counter clerk at a non-profit or government office versus a coounter clerk at a for-profit business: the first is noble, the second is greedy. Greed is bad therefore for-profit businesses are bad and society should not encourage people to be bad. Government, as the collective action arm of society, should protect society from bad people by making certain bad businesses don’t operate here. That attitude manifests itself throughout city government, at every level, which is why it’s damned near impossible to start a business in St. Paul.

    People insist St. Paul is pro-business and point to Lawson Software, Macy’s and The Wild as examples. Lawson moved across the river from Minneapolis in 1999 in a deal put together under Mayor Norm Coleman, by then a Republican who served 1994-2002. Macy’s got its 10-year forgivable loan subsidy in 2001, also under Norm Coleman. The Wild was founded in 1997 and played its first season 2000-2001, also under Norm Coleman. Since then, the attitude has reversed. St. Paul DFL policy is anti-business.

  8. nate; good points! I would also point out the defection of usBank from the RiverBank Business Center on Shepard Road (that the bank spent a couple of million for renovations on) across the river to Meridian Crossing in Richfield, just down the road from Best Buy. It’s funny that the former 1st Bank also relocated their corporate offices across the river in DT Minneapolis. In fact, I don’t think that they have anything left in their old DT St. Paul tower.

  9. Now that this store is empty it would make an excellent space in which to plant the Obamacare Health exchange bureaucracy. Plenty of space to absorb the inevitable growth of the bureaucracy and the top floor could be leased out to the IRS as audit space for all those people who will need auditing when they fail to pay their federally mandated Obamacare tax. They could a portion of ti to the BATF to run their new gun registration and mandatory buyback programs. This is win-win for the Democrats.

  10. I think it ought be re-named Pigs Eye City; a moniker more in keeping with its present trajectory.

  11. In an interview, the City Manager said that this was good news ’cause now they have this great big empty space right next to the light rail line.

    I think that’s called “University Avenue,” MoN.

  12. Think how long the property at Lexington and University stood idle.

    This could be a long, long time.

  13. And the property at Lex and Univ is now taken up largely by the Wilder Foundation, mostly in a nod to the left who’d been saying it needs to “give back,” apparently even more that it already does. By the way, since its move, Wilder has dropped about half of its employees.

  14. PJ, good point. Apparently, the Dems, being the party of the working man, forgot to address the 150 jobs that will be lost as a result of the store closing.

  15. I still don’t get this obsession with downtowns. Central city business districts are an obsolete artifact of the 19th century, when they were natural solutions to the transportation and information needs of the time. No longer true. Let that real estate go to new and higher use.

  16. I am grateful not to have to witness the sad decline of a city I really loved living in. It’s criminal, wanton destruction…that the citizens apparently are happy to pay more to finance.

    I’m truly happy to be free of such an unhealthy environment.

  17. Mr. Berg says:
    “I think the Airbus fiasco was Rudy Perpich’s doing – and even if it was Carlson, he was a Democrat in all but name.”

    We’re not a bunch of 10-year-olds on the playground throwing taunts at one another. Try for a little objectivity.

  18. I usually don’t repeat myself, but I’m willing to make an exception in this instance.

    Americans are uncharacteristically modest with regards to sharing wisdom because … Americans, particularly younger Americans, will uniformly critique and dismiss that wisdom unless it comes from someone who is held in very high regard (most parents don’t qualify). Older Americans do not offer wisdom unless the audience is receptive, and those audiences are few and far between. The disrespect for tradition, history, and established wisdom is a two-edged sword which both makes America fresh and new, and leads it to make the same mistakes over and over again.

    Persuasion needs both an objective and a receptive audience. Not a lot of self reflection going on here. I would love to see the GOP expand it’s appeal. Unfortunately I see don’t see how that will happen with the current brand of conservatives. Although things could change quickly if the Republicans pick better people to put their money behind. Getting in front of the libertarian trend will require adjustment by both parties, the Republicans most obviously, but the Democrats too.

  19. Sorry, Emery, still not getting the point.

    Mitch says Macy’s is closing because of DFL policies.

    You ask if it’s a policy created by the DFL?

    Joe points out the pro-business attitude left with Republican Norm Coleman, the city since then has been run by DFL and bleeding business.

    Boss and Mitch add more examples.

    You object to playground taunts.

    Joe asks you to state a point, you respond with your 10:16.

    Here’s the question boiled down: what evidence leads you to believe the St. Paul DFL is not anti-business?

  20. Including the St. Paul store there are five Macy’s stores and four Bloomingdale’s nationwide that aren’t making the numbers and are closing in 2013. The Bloomingdale’s store at the Mall of America is included in this list. Those wild eyed liberals in Bloomington drove that Bloomingdale store to the death if I were to use Nate’s logic. And that was no easy feat to accomplish, considering the foot traffic at the Mall of America. Unlike most malls across the US, Mall of America has actually increased its foot traffic during the current recession.

    Once again the invisible hand of the free market has (signed) spoken. That is if anyone was listening.

  21. “This..[these closings] leads us to open new stores where we see the opportunity to fill gaps in important markets, as well as to make the tough decision to selectively close under-performing stores that no longer meet our performance requirements or where leases are not being renewed.”

    Other Macy’s closings include:

    Paseo Colorado, Pasadena, CA (158,000 square feet; opened in 1980; 116 associates);
    Downtown Honolulu, HI (80,000 square feet; opened in 1850; 91 associates);
    Downtown St. Paul, MN (362,000 square feet; opened in 1963; 153 associates);
    Downtown Houston, TX (791,000 square feet; opened in 1947; 138 associates).
    Macy’s also plans to shutter a Bloomingdale’s Fashion Show Home Store in Las Vegas, NV (99,000 square feet; opened in 2002; 35 associates).


    Nate, if you like to use fact and evidence based research, you could look into the terms of all these lease agreements in each specific location. Then research the political persuasion of the principles in each location. This information would then allow you to have an informed opinion. Apples to apples…..

Leave a Reply