Two big-box retailers are expanding in the Twin Cities, one just arriving in the market and the other opening a new kind of outlet.

Meijer Inc. bought land in Brooklyn Park in the first of what local real estate brokers think will be at least four purchases to bring its superstore chain to the metro area. Meanwhile, Costco Wholesale Corp. bought a building in northeast Minneapolis that it will use for a store focused on small businesses rather than consumers.

Meijer, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., operates 223 stores averaging around 200,000 square feet in size, bigger than a SuperTarget. County records now list an affiliated firm as the owner of five adjacent parcels in the northeast corner of the intersection of Hwy. 610 and Zane Avenue N. that were previously owned by Opus Corp., a Minnetonka-based developer.

A company representative didn’t return a call for comment. Its website doesn’t list any Minnesota locations in its 2016 expansion plans, but local brokers for weeks have been discussing sites in several suburbs that the firm has considered.

In Minneapolis, Costco paid $8.3 million for the 175,000-square-foot building at 3311 Broadway. The firm plans to open a “business center” outlet there, “a supply center for small businesses,” said Brad Ellis, the city’s manager of zoning administration and enforcement.

In addition to its warehouse-sized consumer stores, the Seattle-based retailer operates 13 Costco Business Centers in the United States, according to its website, with the closest to the Twin Cities in suburban Chicago. Those outlets are smaller in size and focus on business products — from uniforms to copiers to flour — in three areas: office, food service and convenience stores.

“Bulk peanuts, you can probably buy. Tires? Probably not,” said Council Member Kevin Reich, whose ward will be home to the new business.

A Costco spokeswoman declined to comment.

Costco has cleared all the zoning and regulatory hurdles, Reich said the outlet could be up and running within 18 months.

Reich said the store is estimated to generate “a couple hundred” jobs offering competitive pay and benefits. He said there were “no financial sweeteners” that taxpayers are on the hook for in connection with Costco’s purchase of the property.

Innovize, a contract manufacturer based in St. Paul, sold the building; the current tenant, Immedia, a store display and graphics company, will be leaving the building by the end of the year, said Polly Filing of New Hope-based Liberty Diversified International, which owns Immedia.

Filing said Immedia intends to stay close to the core of the Twin Cities and anticipates the move will have no impact on its operations or the size of its workforce, which stands at 120.

There are six traditional Costcos in the Twin Cities area — Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Burnsville, Maple Grove, Maplewood and Coon Rapids — with a seventh in the works in Woodbury.


Staff writers Evan Ramstad and John Ewoldt contributed to this report.