Total Wine overcame an earlier rejection and won approval to open one of its warehouse-sized outlets in Minnetonka.
The City Council voted 5-2 on Monday in favor of the national retailer locating in the Ridgedale Festival Center, where a Golfsmith once did business, just north of Interstate 394 and east of I-494.
Construction on the new store, preliminarily pegged at nearly 26,000-square-feet, is expected to be complete within five to six months, according to the minutes from Monday's council meeting.
When the seven-member council turned down Total Wine's application in September, Council Member Brad Wiersum said he thought about 10 full-service liquor licenses were enough for the city. The city had 11 before Total Wine got the nod.
Wiersum shifted sides Monday and voted yes, along with colleagues Terry Schneider (also mayor), Tony Wagner, Tim Bergstedt and Dick Allendorf. Voting no were Patty Acomb and Bob Ellingson.
Earlier, Wiersum's no vote left Total Wine one short of the supermajority of five required. All others voted in September as they did Monday.
After its defeat last year, Total Wine took steps that allowed the council to reconsider. According to its application submitted in February, Total Wine said it planned to buy the assets of Big Top Liquors on Ridgedale Drive and U.S. Liquor & Wine. Council minutes from Monday note that those deals are moving toward completion.
Wiersum said Tuesday that Total Wine's willingness to take over and close the Big Top and U.S. Liquor & Wine locations satisfied his concern about the number of retail liquor outlets in the city.
"We are reducing the number of liquor stores by two and adding one," he said.
He also cited two other reasons that he voted yes: location and traffic.
Total Wine initially wanted to put the store at the corner of Plymouth Road and Wayzata Boulevard but there were "significant traffic challenges" that would have cropped up with increased commerce at that location, Wiersum said.
The newly proposed site is "not an overly busy location [and] much farther from a major intersection," he said.
Throughout the Twin Cities, Total Wine has gotten resistance amid criticism from competitors, including civic-owned liquor stores in some municipalities.
The Total Wine in Minnetonka will be its eighth metro area location. The others are in Bloomington, Burnsville, Chanhassen, Eagan, Maple Grove, Roseville and Woodbury. Nationwide, it has 157 stores in 20 states.
Also, Target's new application to sell liquor at its store on County Road 101 near Hwy. 7 will be considered at the council's May 22 meeting.
Asked Tuesday how Target's application might be affected by Total Wine's approval, Target spokeswoman Kate Decker said, "At this moment, we are focused on the upcoming May 22 hearing and providing the City Council with anything they need leading up to the date."
According to Target, alcohol is sold in about 1,400 of its 1,850 stores in 38 states.
It sells wine and liquor in seven Twin Cities locations. A new location in downtown Minneapolis, next to its flagship Nicollet Mall store, has been approved and is expected to open in early summer.