Demolition of old Herberger’s, Toys R Us at Southtown Center begins

Demolition has begun on the former Herberger’s and Toys R Us and buildings at Southtown Shopping Center off Interstate 494 and Penn Avenue in Bloomington.

Southtown opened in 1960 with a two-story, 150,000 square foot Montgomery Wards, which was the largest of the retailer’s 550 stores in the country at the time. The shopping center had 44 other variety shops and stores, including Musicland, Red Owl, Walgreens and Texaco, making it a hub for suburban Bloomington.

A packed parking lot at Southtown Center in 1963. Photo furnished by Kraus Anderson

Customers lined up at Southtown Center in 1963. Photo furnished by Kraus Anderson

Demolition will take approximately 12 weeks and is expected to be completed at the end of March 2024.

"The demolition team will be working as quickly and safely as possible so they don’t disturb the rest of the shopping center," said a statement from Jeff Hildahl, Kraus Anderson Realty & Development’s executive vice president.  "The building will be demolished one piece at a time, using excavators and other mechanical equipment.  There won’t be any implosions.  There won’t be any fireworks.  The former Herberger’s building is going, but the bulk of the shopping center will remain, and all those stores will be open during the entire demolition. The building served the community well for 63 years but the time has come to make room for the next greatest thing."

What’s going in next? That remains a question. In 2021, Kraus-Anderson proposed a Hy-Vee grocery store and liquor store development with potential for office space and apartment buildings as well, but that proposal was later withdrawn.

The City of Bloomington has a Southtown site development information page at