When someone pointed out to Bill Hargis that a quarter of all vehicles parked outside retail stores along Interstate 94 in Woodbury come from Wisconsin, the mayor was reminded yet again of the city's power to attract regional shoppers.

"It's what the customers want," Hargis said of the growing shopping area on both sides of Woodbury Drive in the northeast corner of the city. "If they're driving by, they might as well stop and shop."

Toward that end, land that had been set aside as "places to work" became "places to shop," which led to recent City Council approval for the 40-acre Commerce Hill business development. While the total price of the project isn't available, Hargis said the undertaking will make a splash in the retail market. By next September, Woodbury should have a SuperTarget in place, with several more businesses to follow on land west of Woodbury Drive between Tamarack Road and Commerce Drive.

"It's certainly a significant retail project," said Melissa Douglas, the city's senior planner. At about 290,000 square feet, Commerce Hill will rival the nearby Woodbury Lakes shopping district in size and eventually will include a bank, a drugstore, two restaurants, a daycare center and two office buildings. The project will be built on an open field where corn grew just three years ago.

Partners in Woodbury Developers LLC, the company that proposed Commerce Hill, were not commenting last week. But the company is finding a second wind after the City Council denied the project last summer because city planners said the developer hadn't met standards for storm-water management funding, road improvements, parking conditions, site sketches and a revised landscaping plan.

The Council reversed its position Oct. 8, voting 5-0 in favor. Hargis said the developer addressed earlier concerns and that a threatened lawsuit was dropped. Under the new agreement, Woodbury Developers LLC will pay an estimated $5.6 million for road and utility improvements.

About 203,000 square feet of the development will be dedicated for retail use, with another 57,000 square feet for offices. A shopping center, anchored by the SuperTarget, will be built on the north side of the property. Five detached buildings would include a fast-food restaurant, a bank, a retail building and two other buildings for restaurant or retail uses. Plans for the southern side of the site include an office building, a daycare center and a second bank.

Delia McLinden, a spokeswoman for Target Corp., said the company looks forward to building a SuperTarget in Woodbury but doesn't yet own the land. Providing any details would be "preliminary," she said. Target owns one other store in Woodbury at Valley Creek Plaza. A SuperTarget includes a grocery store with produce, meats, bakery and deli.

Grading of the Commerce Hill land will begin soon, Douglas said.

The Commerce Hill area is about a mile from another larger eventual business development along I-94. That proposal, as outlined in the city's long-range plan, would create a 580-acre business park with retail stores, office buildings and housing by 2030.

Kevin Giles • 651-298-1554