Stories of Big Box Redevelopment Success—After Years of Frustration

The Minneapolis area yields two case studies of troubled sites, home to big box retailers, finally rejoining the community.
November 21, 2015, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Bill Lindeke tells the story of the Lake Street Kmart in Minneapolis, which interrupts the city's most famous street, Nicollet Avenue, on its way to and from downtown.

According to Lindeke, "[The Kmart is] a remnant of desperate times, when Minneapolis tried to bulldoze its way to economic relevance by creating an urban shopping mall. When the original deal fell through, faced with vacant lots, the City Council reluctantly turned to a Kmart proposal that came with a bitter poison pill: replacing one of the city’s key intersections with a massive parking lot straight out of the suburbs."

Such a development presents challenges for "reuse and rehab," according to Lindeke, but he finds examples of redevelopment progress, "after years of struggle and blight," with some examples in Cottage Grove and Minneapolis.

In the Cottage Grove example, a Home Depot in the city's Gateway North area closed eight years ago. For years, the city found it difficult to find a replacement tenant for the building or to redevelop the site. Recently, however, Iowa-based grocer Hy-Vee has been announced as the new tenant in the 116,000-square-foot building. Lindeke offers more details on the difficulties in finding a new tenant, which even involved an episode with the mayor of the city stopping just short of calling for a boycott of Home Depot.

Meanwhile, back at the Lake Street Kmart in Minneapolis, Peter Callaghan recently reported progress for conditions at that location, when city officials approved a $5.3 million purchase of some of the site. Another purchase option for the rest of site is expected soon. Callaghan's coverage of that development pitches the purchase as a chance to reconnect Nicollet Avenue.

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Published on Thursday, November 12, 2015 in MinnPost
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