The city of St. Paul has issued a building permit to convert the shuttered Walmart store in the Midway neighborhood into an At Home furnishings store.

According to city records, the Texas-based construction firm Parkway C&A LP received a building permit from the city of St. Paul on April 12, giving it permission to renovate the interior and exterior of the former Walmart store at 1450 University Av. in St. Paul.

The building permit states: "the renovation of an existing retail building for convergence to At Home furnishing retail outlet including exterior work, paint and architectural facade elements, new interior walls and finishes and mezzanine updates."

At Home, which is based in Plano, Texas, specializes in home decor products and operates 225 stores nationwide, including outlets in Blaine and Burnsville. The company, which is public, reported revenue of $1.74 billion in its most recent fiscal year, easily topping analysts' revenue and earnings estimates in the fourth quarter with total sales surging 41%.

Officials at At Home and the Parkway construction declined to comment.

Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson, which owns the former Walmart store building, said lease discussions are ongoing and could finalize next month. "We can't disclose the name of the tenant going in the Walmart space but there is somebody who is getting ready to announce," said Matt Alexander, Kraus-Anderson senior vice president in charge of development.

The Walmart store has been shuttered since fall 2019. A new tenant would breathe life into the Midway shopping area hard hit in recent years by store closures and last year's rioting that followed the police killing of George Floyd.

"Any retailer wanting to move onto University Avenue is a good sign that people still see our community and neighborhood as a good place to do business," said Chad Kulas, executive director of the Midway Chamber of Commerce.

The Midway Marketplace shopping center, where the stand-alone Walmart site is located, also houses Cub Foods, Dollar Tree, Midway Tobacco, T.J. Maxx, LA Fitness, an M Health Fairview Clinic and a shuttered Herberger's store.

Most of the center's stores damaged in last year's riots have since been repaired and reopened, with the exception of a Leeann Chin restaurant, which has been replaced by Cajun Kitchen, Alexander said.

The Walmart site is two blocks from Allianz Field soccer stadium and not quite a block from the shuttered Midway Shopping Center on University Avenue and Pascal. That strip mall, owned by Rick Birdoff and United FC soccer team owner Bill McGuire, is expected to be redeveloped into a mixed-use residential, office and retail complex. A master development plan has been submitted to the city, but construction dates are not yet known.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725