The recent, sudden closure of a supermarket near a Bloomington light-rail stop has dealt a blow to the city's efforts to build a dense, walkable neighborhood near the Mall of America.

Bloomington leaders want to see the area, on the grounds of the old Metropolitan Stadium, become an urban neighborhood where people might choose to drive less — walking to the store or a coffee shop, and catching the light-rail train to work. The city subsidized development with tax-increment financing and tried to push developer McGough to build mixed-use buildings as part of that vision. Oxendale's Market, the small Minneapolis-based chain of neighborhood groceries, was supposed to anchor the new neighborhood.

Oxendale's opened its doors in November, but closed abruptly this month. The store's owner did not respond to an email asking what led to the closure.

"Despite our best efforts and initial optimism, Oxendale's has made the difficult decision to cease operations," McGough officials said in an emailed statement. "While we are disappointed by this turn of events, we remain committed to the success of our development. ... We are actively exploring opportunities to fill the vacant space with a new tenant that will complement the vibrant atmosphere of the neighborhood."

Bloomington leaders still hope for a walkable neighborhood near its light-rail station, Port Authority Administrator Holly Masek said in an email. Bloomington will keep supporting projects that bring more residents and future businesses, she said, and will keep planning events in the area to bring in people.

Oxendale's isn't the only retail space to shutter recently; nearby coffee shop Fiddlehead closed late last year.

Then last month, just before Oxendale's closed, McGough scaled back what was supposed to be another apartment building with a shop or restaurant on the ground floor, instead proposing senior housing without any shops.

City planning commissioners were frustrated with the change, which chipped away at their vision for the neighborhood. But they saw no way to make McGough stick to its original plan to build a store or restaurant space.

Now, the sole restaurant left in the immediate area of Bloomington Central Station is in a hotel, with another restaurant about an eight-minute walk across six-lane Old Shakopee Road. The next-closest businesses are in the Mall of America.

In an email, McGough officials said the ground-floor space briefly occupied by Oxendale's might become another kind of business such as a brewery, restaurant or gym. Masek said the developer would be required to go before the Port Authority Commission to receive approval for something other than a grocery store.

The city subsidized the cost of land and built streets, sidewalks and a parking ramp for the building. In return, the developers agreed to keep rent lower for 36 of the more than 400 apartments for 20 years, and the building had to rent its commercial space to a grocery store.