A Toronto real estate investment firm has bought 40 acres of land in Shakopee with plans to build a large speculative warehouse, according to city officials.

WPT Industrial Real Estate Investment Trust paid nearly $12 million for the Cretex Industrial Park property late last month and plans to construct a 500,000-square-foot distribution center to be leased to others.

City officials said they don't know who the future tenants might be, said Michael Kerski, Shakopee's director of planning and development. He noted that WPT recently applied for a city building permit and wants to begin construction of the "complicated" and "gigantic" project as soon as possible. "They want to try and get this open by the end of the year," he said.

The city is expected to finalize the permit in about 30 days.

WPT officials did not return calls seeking comment.

The speculative industrial project is one of the largest in the state and drives home the continued strength of the e-commerce driven warehouse marketplace.

The city of Shakopee and the state of Minnesota have benefited from growing demand for industrial warehouse and distribution spaces.

Amazon opened a nearly 1 million-square-foot fulfillment center in Shakopee in 2016 and this week announced plans to build a large delivery center in St. Cloud. Target, Walmart and Best Buy have also boosted their warehouse and logistical product-delivery operations since the pandemic began.

WPT's 40-acre development plan is part of the 63-acre Hentges Industrial Park project located just south of County Rd. 101 between Stagecoach Road and 70th Street on the city's east side.

While WPT will develop the bulk of the property, the remainder will be divided into three lots to be developed by others.

Getting the entire industrial park project done has involved six months of work, various land swaps and agreements between the city and neighboring businesses such as Gavilon Fertilizer's MicroSource division, Kerski said.

The city plans to build a road and a roundabout in the area to provide better access to WPT's warehouse.

The fresh development expands Shakopee's prowess as an industrial hub. The city is home to major facilities owned by Emerson, Bayer Crop Science and Entrust. It is also home to several recently completed building projects such as Cherne Industries' new 131,000-square-foot factory; the doubling in size of KEB America's elevator parts plant; and the newly renovated Scott County Government Center.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725