The development of the southeast corner of 36th and France began with the construction of the Terrace Theater which opened in 1951. The 1952 US Geological Survey for Robbinsdale shows the Terrace Theater building sitting above an area indicated as swamp.
The swampy area was filled in and the Montomery Wards building was constructed on the site. The building is constructed on pilings. The 1967 US Geological Survey shows that the land was filled in and the Montgomery Wards building and auto center have been added to the site.
Terrace Mall opened in - 1979-1980. The Terrace Mall building was constructed on pilings mostly 70 feet in length. The 1993 US Geological Survey shows the addition of the Terrace Mall as well as an addition on the SW edge of the Wards building.
In 1988, the owner of the Terrace Theater received city approval for a major remodeling effort including dividing the theater into 3 theaters - 2 small theaters using the former balcony area.
Also in 1988, the mall owners received city approval for a major renovation. Due to financial difficulties, the redevelopment was stalled until 1991 when the owners reapplied for the project to change the interior mall and the property into to two buildings and obtained city approval. Unfortunately, by late summer 1991 the site was in foreclosure. Eventually, with new owners in 1993-94 the redevelopment moved forward to create 2 buildings: one attached to the Wards building with offices as well as a retail space (originally videos, now dialysis); the second included east facing storefronts including the large grocery store, restaurants, and retail. The rear area was converted to office space.
The theater struggled with attendance ultimately becoming a $1 theater and a site with frequent police calls. In 1999, the Terrace Theater was purchased by the owner of Terrace Mall. The previous owner removed all of the theater furnishings including seats, screens, and projection equipment. Reuse of a building constructed as a movie theater with no furnishings proved to be a challenge.
In 2002, North Memorial purchased the Wards building and it was ultimately converted into medical use. North was able to gut the building and change the use without alteration to the shell other than the new front entry.
In 2003- 2004, a task force looked at the redevelopment potential of the site anticipating the update of CR81 to Bottineau Boulevard. The plan showed the renovated outpatient center, reuse of the Terrace Theater for professional offices, multifamily housing, extended-stay hotel, as well as other retail and office elements.
In 2005, the REDA contracted with Jim McComb, a market research professional, to look at the marketability of the components of the plan. The conclusion was that the most economical redevelopment would be to try to reuse the existing piles and avoid the area with "lousy" soils. Conclusion was that the task force vision could not be accommodated according to the financial analysis. Suggestion moving forward was to try to unsnarl the property ownership.
Across the 2002-2005 time span, the city received a grant from Met Council to remove the asbestos and clean up the mold in the Terrace Theater building to make it more attractive for redevelopment. The property owner marketed the concept of changing the site into an office building - gutting the theater to install 3 floors. Although this was an optimistic time to get funding for projects, the project did not move forward.
The REDA continued to reach out to the property owner to apply for grants or offer tax increment financing to cover the redevelopment costs for the reuse of the theater, the owner was not able to identify an end user interested in the site.
In 2013, Rainbow foods closed along with many Rainbow stores across the metro area.
A recent areal map from the Hennepin County website shows the current property lines on the site. North Memorial's property includes the majority of the parking lot used by the shopping mall per agreement going back to the mall's development. Creating a redevelopment site for the mall has included negotiations to acquire the parking area from North Memorial and relocation of their offices in the back of the northerly mall building.