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