More evidence of a healthier Washington County economy was seen recently in Woodbury, a city with 60 active commercial building permits and another 30 applications awaiting approval.
“Woodbury is having a fantastic business development year,” Administrator Clint Gridley told the City Council. “We have so many improvements all across our city.”
Woodbury already fuels the greater share of the county’s commercial tax revenue, but substantial new construction includes the CityPlace development at the old State Farm headquarters on Radio Drive, ongoing retail expansion at Bielenberg Gardens at the city’s south end, and a new Crave restaurant in Woodbury Lakes valued at $1.2 million.
In addition, “landlord improvements” are being made to existing storefronts at Barnes & Noble, Petco, and North Shops, Gridley said.
CityPlace, a 100-acre business campus encircling the former State Farm headquarters, is expected to eventually generate more than 2,000 jobs.
Growing commercial construction comes at a time when some elected officials have expressed concern about retaining a sufficient workforce in Washington County and have debated how public transit might help.
In May, Woodbury lost 190 jobs when the Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. moved its mutual fund operation from the city. And Education Credit Management Corp., now known as ECMC Group, plans to move its corporate headquarters and 500 employees from Imation Corporation’s Oakdale campus to downtown Minneapolis by February 2016.