If you find yourself reluctant to leave Ridgedale Center, it's probably the new carpet making the surroundings feel more cozy. The remodeling of Ridgedale is now complete, and while I didn't find the changes that overwhelming, regulars tell me they love the updated look. There's a new family-friendly first floor bathroom near JC Penney and a second fountain in center court. But many of the improvements are subtle: new lighting, darker wood. All together, it adds up to a fresh, more contemporary feel. When I visited last week, the expansive center court was bustling. (Mom alert: I prefer the play area here, where there's space between climbing objects, to the one at Eden Prairie Center, where one big climbing structure leads to more collisions).
The Ridgedale updates got me wondering, once again, if Southdale Center is ever going to get started on improvements of it own. Make that, a total overhaul. Simon Properties, the new owner, has taken over - note the new purple Southdale signs and Simon gift cards. But a spokesperson for the center tells me there's no word yet on renovation plans. Seriously? They haven't had enough time to figure something out? I know several tenants are waiting to see what Simon does with the aged place before deciding whether or not to renew leases. Better get going, Simon, before all the good ones are gone.