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Burnsville CenterOne of the entries into the Burnsville Center, 2020.“Courtesy of CoStar Group, Inc.”
Customize It, 2019Customize It on the lower level at Burnsville Center for all your printing needs. From custom apparel, mugs, water bottles, picture slates and frames, canvas wraps, wall stickers, and more.
Burnsville Center opens 1977August 3, 1977 one of the Burnsville Center ads in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Brothers Deli 1978Ad for the Brothers Deli at the Burnsville Center, 1978.
Burnsville Center 2017Our website contains random photos of the Burnsville Center when it opened in 1977. Forty years later, 2017 random shots were taken by the Historical Society. Shown Dicks Sporting Goods and Gordmans.
Burnsville Center 2018A directory sign near Dick's Sporting Goods, once the site of the Powers Store at the Burnsville Center.
Directory of Stores and Services Burnsville Center, 1996- 1997A marketing brochure for the Burnsville Center notes over 160 stores, including Dayton's, Mervyn's California, J. C. Penney, Sears and a wide selection of fine services and eateries.

At this time the Center offers Cash For Class: Help your favorite elementary schools earn cash prizes of $250 - $2000. Bring your receipts from any Burnsville Center store, food court eatery or restaurant to the Customer Service Center, now through May 31, 1997. We will credit the participating school of your choice with points for every dollar amount shown on the receipt.
Burnsville Center 2017Our website contains random photos of the Burnsville Center when it opened in 1977. Forty years later, 2017 random shots were taken by the Historical Society. Shown Dress Barn.
Burnsville Center 2017One in a series of random photos of the interior of the mall.
Burnsville Center 2019The Food Court includes El Dorado.
Burnsville Center 2018A view of the glass elevator as it looks in 2018.
Burnsville Center empty space 2018Burnsville Center is looking for new ideas to adapt to the new circumstances. The mall, in its 40th year lost Sears, that was a long time anchor tenant.
Burnsville Center 2017Our website contains random photos of the Burnsville Center when it opened in 1977. Forty years later, 2017 random shots were taken by the Historical Society. Shown Entry Four into Mall and Lucky's 13 Pub.
Sears Closing at Burnsville Center 2017Lower level entry to the Burnsville Center's Sears store going out of business.
Escape rooms may herald more changes at Burnsville Center 2018April 6, 2018 Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek news reports on changes being made at the Burnsville Center.

Escapology opens April 11

Growing up, Kim Anders watched Scooby-Doo and his teenage cartoon friends solve mysteries on Saturday mornings. As an adult, she enjoys a good murder mystery novel.

Combine those interests with entrepreneurial drive and you get Minnesota’s first Escapology franchise, which Anders and her husband, Chaess, are opening April 11 at Burnsville Center.

The Shakopee couple are joining the growing business of escape rooms, which place small groups in thematically appointed game suites and give the amateur sleuths an hour to solve a central mystery and “escape” the room. Another such business, Twin Cities Escape Rooms, opened in northern Burnsville in November 2016.

“They are trending,” Anders said. “It was maybe 20 or 30 or so (nationwide) in 2014, and now there’s thousands. And Escapology is one of the largest franchises in escape rooms in the country.”

Intent on locating in what she says is a south metro area underserved by entertainment options, Anders settled on a ground-floor space on the east side of Burnsville Center between J.C. Penney and the shuttered Sears space.

The space offers mall foot traffic, a separate entrance and ample parking, Anders said. And the mall is working to attract more entertainment business and uses other than retail, she said.

“We really wanted to partner with them on the ground floor of that,” she said. “And they’ve been very helpful and supportive.”

Anders worked for nearly 20 years for Best Buy Co., her last job as director of pricing. Her first escape room experience was a team-building exercise for her Best Buy leadership group.

“You have friends and family, but you also have businesses and corporations that are using escape rooms as team building,” Anders said.

“It’s for kids, it’s for adults,” she said. “So many entertainment options are kid-centric, which is great, but then sometimes you have the parents just sort of watching the kids. With this, you put your cell phones down — we have a basket for cell phones and your purses — and you can actually interact with each other. And it’s a mystery, right? It’s fun. You’re solving a mission.”

The Burnsville Center location has four game suites of three rooms each and unfinished space for two more suites.

The business will launch with four of the games developed by Orlando, Florida-based Escapology, which was founded in 2014.

“Mansion Murder” is set in a remote Scottish Highlands mansion. Your grandfather was murdered and you, as the sole heir to his fortune, are suspected. You have an hour to clear your name and find the real killer before the cops arrive.

In “Antidote,” a member of your lab crew has released a toxin created by a rogue scientist. You have an hour to contain the poison or die.

In “The Code,” a hacker who stole billions has laid traps framing you, an FBI agent on his trail. Find the clues and crack the code or you’re done for.

In “Budapest Express,” a murder mystery that recalls “Murder on the Orient Express,” a detective’s life is in danger until the killer is found.

Clues are everywhere. Entering a properly sequenced code on some furnishing in one of the specially wired suites may spring open a door, leading to the next room and the next set of clues.

“No jump scares,” Anders said. “But it’s mysterious and clever enough to intrigue.”

A game master watches the play from a control room and is available to give stuck players clues in their suites, which are equipped with cameras and video screens. Game previews are shown before play begins and are available on the Escapology website.

Unlike some escape room businesses, Escapology doesn’t add strangers to your suite to meet a minimum number to launch a game, Anders said.

“Ideally, it’s two to six people,” she said. “That’s the sweet spot. Otherwise, more than six, you feel a little cramped, and it gets to be too many cooks in the kitchen.”

The Burnsville Center location also has an event room that seats 30 with outside catering available, Anders said.

The website is www.escapology.com.

Burnsville Center eyes changes

Other changes are in the works at the regional shopping center on County Road 42 near the Interstate 35E/W split, said Joe Duperre, general manager.

An Explore Minnesota play area sponsored by Walser Honda in Burnsville will debut in the next month or so, he said.

The mall is working on a “pop-up shop” — a space where would-be tenants who may lack capital or experience to open a permanent store can give their concept a short trial run, Duperre said.

As the center has struggled with vacancies caused by national retail bankruptcies and the rise of online shopping, the city has begun work on a master redevelopment plan for the property and the surrounding County Road 42 retail corridor.

“I think we are definitely focused on more of a mixed use for the property,” said Duperre, of CBL and Associates Properties, the mall manager and part owner. “We’re looking at all different angles.”

Still unknown is what Seritage Growth Properties, owner of the vacant Sears space, plans to do with it, Duperre said.

“We would really like to see something happen there sooner than later,” he said.

The center is “not going anywhere; we’re evolving,” Duperre said. “I look forward to seeing what’s going to happen in the near future. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Burnsville Center 2017Upper level entry to the Burnsville Center.
Sears Closing at Burnsville Center 2017Everything - including fixtures - are being sold as Sears goes out of business.
A vision for the area surrounding the Burnsville Center.A possibility for the area surrounding the Burnsville Center, 2019 Will it become a reality?

nsville Center Village

Burnsville, MN

Recent major retail store closings have impacted the viability of Malls across the county and the City of Burnsville took a proactive approach initiating a planning study to re-envision Burnsville Mall Area. Damon Farber lead a multidisciplinary team to review current market trends, and developed a multi-phased vision plan transforming this auto-centric retail district into new mixed use neighborhoods with residential housing, parks, office, hotel and retail linked through a connection of pedestrian friendly roads and trails and a network of streets and transit connections.
Find it fast, Burnsville Center undatedA marketing brochure and mall directory for the Burnsville Center. Anchor stores at this time were: Carson Pirie Scott, Daytons, JC Penney, Sears and 160 fine merchants.
Burnsville Center 2017Our website contains random photos of the Burnsville Center when it opened in 1977. Forty years later, 2017 random shots were taken by the Historical Society. Shown Finish Line.
First Burnsville Center brochurePublished by Homart Development Company, Chicago in 1977 this brochure introduces the soon to be open Burnsville Center. The grand opening of the Center is set for summer 1977. This retail environment with four major department stores and 150 shops will be one of the largest and most dynamic shopping centers in the rapidly growing southern suburbs of Minneapolis and the entire region south and west of the metropolis.

Burnsville Center 2017Our website contains random photos of the Burnsville Center when it opened in 1977. Forty years later, 2017 random shots were taken by the Historical Society. Shown the food court.
Burnsville Center food court 1980sA 1980s view of the food court, compliments of the Burnsville Center.
Burnsville Center 2019The Food Court including Asian Too and Philly Steak.
Burnsville Center 2017Our website contains random photos of the Burnsville Center when it opened in 1977. Forty years later, 2017 random shots were taken by the Historical Society. Shown the Food Court decorated for holidays.
Burnsville Center property going into foreclosure 2020August 21, 2020 - Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News

Burnsville Center, which serves as a major retail hub for the south metro, is set to go into foreclosure. CBL Properties, which owns the mall but owes $64.5 million in loans on the property, made the announcement this month in its report for the second quarter of 2020.
Fuji SushiFuji Sushi was located at the Burnsville Center Food Court.
Some council members criticize Burnsville Center 2019October 18, 2019 - Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News online:

by John Gessner

Say mall should do more to revitalize

Voicing frustration Tuesday at what they described as a lack of progress toward improving Burnsville Center, some City Council members took aim at the regional mall’s owners and management.

It was suggested they’re not taking the initiative to revitalize the 42-year-old mall, waiting instead for a public handout.

“I think our biggest problem, or biggest opportunity, in the mall is the ownership,” Council Member Dan Kealey said during a council work session. “We’ve been hearing lip service for the last three and a half, four years, and I’m, quite frankly, tired of it. And I think they need to get off it, move on, or get serious about investing in that center.

“And there’s not much we can do as a council. But I’m tired of listening to chatter and seeing absolutely nothing happen there other than backfilling at low rents and not taking care of the place.”

The object of the criticism is still one of the council’s highest priorities.

Last December the council approved a redevelopment plan for the 98-acre property and surrounding County Road 42 retail area. The plan, dubbed Center Village, envisions over time land use transformations away from traditional auto-driven retail development.

Seeking funds to build public infrastructure and assist redevelopment projects, the city asked the 2019 Legislature to approve a special tax-increment financing district for the area.

The request failed. On Tuesday, when council members discussed their priorities for the 2020 legislative session, they elected to keep the TIF district in their top three for at least another year.

“You don’t give up,” Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said, noting that it took three tries before the Legislature granted TIF authority for Burnsville’s Minnesota River Quadrant area.

The Center Village TIF request may not deserve such persistence, some council members suggested.

“I will say that the Burnsville Center is not high on my priority list personally, as a council member, until they decide it is high on their priority list,” Council Member Cara Schulz said. “We do have other parts of this city that are revitalizing.”

The city had little time to prepare a lobbying strategy for the 2019 session, which began in January, Community Development Director Jenni Faulkner said. The city has more lead time for 2020 and a new lobbyist to push the TIF proposal, she said.

The mall is owned by Tennessee-based CBL Properties, which also manages it; Seritage Growth Properties, which owns the Sears space that closed in 2017; and Macy’s and J.C. Penney.

During the Center Village planning, Seritage said redevelopment of its vacant space at Burnsville Center would move “up their priority list” if the city could provide assistance, Faulkner said.

“And from what I understand, many other property owners are waiting to see what Seritage does,” she said. “So the way to move this up is to get the tools available, because without it, it doesn’t qualify for anything but tax abatement.”

But there’s plenty of economic development in Burnsville now that’s unsubsidized, Council Member Dan Gustafson said.

“Quite frankly, there’s a lot of people roaming around this town looking at a lot of different properties where we could spend more time getting those done,” he said. “When we have a group out here that’s waiting to see what we’ll give them as opposed to people who are actually looking to do things, I think a lot of our energies need to be spent on those people.”

Council Member Vince Workman suggested that holding out indefinitely for TIF without getting it could cause landowners to delay launching redevelopment projects on their own.

Kealey agreed. “There will come a time when it could be working against us instead of for us,” he said.

Kealey said he recently told the Burnsville Center manager of his “embarrassment” over the property.

“They were treating it like it was the last thing on their priority of over 100 centers,” he said, referring to CBL, “and we deserve better in Burnsville.”
FYE Burnsville Center 2019FYE - Entertainment retail chain selling new & pre-owned music, movies & video games, plus T-shirts.
Games by James at Burnsville Center 2021February 5, 2021 - Burnsville Eagan Sun/Thisweek News

Games by James, a familiar mall presence regionally.
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