See more of the story

Kowalski's Markets will move into the former Herberger's space at Southdale Center in Edina, further transforming the shopping mall into a mixed-use destination.

Talk about the grocer being incorporated into the mall space has been around for years. On Wednesday, mall owner Simon Property Group confirmed that the Kowalski's is expected to open next year in the empty department store at the southeast portion of Southdale.

The grocery store will occupy more than 34,000 square feet on the ground level of the Herberger's, which closed in 2018.

"Southdale and the communities it serves have a vibrancy and energy that are well-suited for Kowalski's and our customers," Mike Oase, Kowalski's chief operating officer, said in a statement. "We're really looking forward to operating in this lively retail environment."

Southdale Center, the country's first enclosed shopping mall, has continued to evolve over the years as retail has changed and there has been a larger emphasis on accessible live-work-play nodes that can serve as community gathering hubs.

Almost a decade ago, the One Southdale Place apartments were built on the Southdale property. Over the next several years, other developments were constructed either connected to the mall or on its parking lots. Those include the Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel and the glamorous, multilevel Restoration Hardware showroom. In late 2019, Chanhassen-based Life Time fitness opened a $43 million luxury athletic club, soccer practice facility and co-working space.

There have also been discussions to move the Edina library to the mall next to the grocery store on the bottom of an apartment tower created by Life Time, but those plans stalled during the pandemic.

Additional announcements are anticipated this year.

"When architect Victor Gruen designed Southdale in 1956, he envisioned the modern shopping mall as a community gathering place," Southdale General Manager Judy Tullius said in a statement. "That vision continues to be a guiding light as we bring standout offerings like Kowalski's to our discerning community."