Elion Partners, a Florida-based real estate investment and development firm, unveiled its plans to transform the former State Farm campus into a mixed-use commercial development with retail, office space and an upscale 180-room hotel.
The firm released renderings of the project Oct. 3 at the annual Woodbury Business Classic forum, held in what used to be the complex’s cafeteria.
“I think it went well. It’s definitely a site that garners tremendous attention from the community: the business community, the political community and the real estate committee,” said Juan DeAngulo, a partner and the firm’s chief operating officer at Elion. “There was a lot of positive feedback regarding the current plans.”
To surround the existing complex, Elion has proposed building 100,000 square feet of medical office space, retail shops and a grocery store. The renderings presented by DeAngulo also depict a 180-room “select service” hotel.
“Obviously you have the existing building; we really feel with all the other development it’s going to become an attractive location for the area,” he said.
DeAngulo said Elion will submit a site plan application in early 2014, which will require city approval.
After the presentation city officials expressed support for the proposal.
“They really kind of stuck to the vision that we had for that property, kind of a place to work,” Woodbury planning and economic development manager Janelle Schmitz said in a phone interview. “Our land use plan really promotes and identifies it as a work category, in terms of this is where we want to have more offices.”
City Administrator Clinton Gridley said the fate of the cavernous building, which has been vacant since State Farm moved its headquarters to Lincoln, Neb., in 2004, is “probably the number one question asked of city officials.”
In 2007, a South Dakota businessman backed out of a proposal to buy the site. Four years later, St. Paul-based Wellington Management’s plans to redevelop the property as a 200-unit senior housing complex and a Costco store also unraveled, partly because the city opposed the construction of the big-box retailer.
Elion is under contract to buy the 100-acre site from the insurance giant, but DeAngulo declined to discuss the terms of the deal, citing a confidentiality agreement.
“It’s a beautiful corporate campus, and the Elion group wants to respect that and ensure that any other uses are complementary to that building,” Gridley said.