Hot property

  • Updated: February 6, 2011 - 11:27 AM

NEW BLAINE WAL-MART

11465 Ulysses Street NE., Blaine

Type: Retail

Size: 148,124 square feet

Area: 19.3 acres

Developer: Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Details: Continuing its expansion in the Twin Cities market, Wal-Mart has filed plans to open a second location in the northeast metro suburb of Blaine, this one south and west of the intersection of Hwy. 65 and 117th Av. NE.

The project was unveiled in December, when the city's Planning Commission unanimously approved Wal-Mart's request to rezone what for 20 years had been the site of the Rice Creek Gardens landscaping nursery.

The retailer still must gain the consent of Blaine City Council, which is set to consider the proposal at its Feb. 17 meeting. If it is approved, Wal-Mart officials say the new Supercenter -- complete with a full grocery component --will bring up to 350 jobs to the suburb.

Assuming the new store passes muster with the council and gains the necessary approvals of the Coon Creek Watershed District, its construction timeline calls for a March 2012 opening.

Company officials appearing before the Planning Commission said Wal-Mart intends to keep its first Blaine store at the Village Shopping Center open. Indeed, that facility, at 4405 Pheasant Ridge Drive NE., celebrated a "grand reopening" in July, when it completed a three-month remodeling project featuring the installation of a new layout emphasizing wider aisles and lower-profile shelves.

Blaine Planning and Community Development Director Bryan Schafer said the Wal-Mart would share an access off Ulysses Street NE. with an existing Lowe's Home Improvement store.

The Hwy. 65/117th Av. NE. intersection, now controlled by a traffic light, is on the Minnesota Department of Transportation's list of future improvement projects, under which it is targeted to be rebuilt as a "full interchange" if funding is someday secured.

The corner is already gathering development momentum: Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota late last month submitted a proposal for a new, 20,000-square-foot thrift store there, Schafer said.

DON JACOBSON

Don Jacobson, a freelance writer based in St. Paul, can be contacted at hotproperty.startribune@gmail.com.

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