Several additional tenants have signed letters of intent to show their interest in developing at the Shingle Creek Crossing property under construction in Brooklyn Center, according to Mike Sims, a principal for Mid-America Real Estate-Minnesota.
Sims spoke to the Brooklyn Center Business Association June 28 and said the interested businesses are Michaels Arts and Crafts store, T.J. Maxx, OfficeMax, DressBarn and Lane Bryant. A letter of intent does not equal a finalized agreement between the developer, Gatlin Development Co., and a tenant, Sims said.
Mid-America Real Estate is responsible for leasing tenants at Shingle Creek Crossing and signed on the anchor store, Wal-Mart, Sims said.
Wal-Mart is the first building under construction at the site, which is the former home to Brookdale Mall, located at Highway 100 and Bass Lake Road.
Sears and Kohl’s Department Store will remain open on the site and the developers are renovating the food court building from Brookdale Mall.
Sims said the market for retail development and finding tenants to fill existing properties has been in a slump until about 18 months ago and that the signs of interest at Shingle Creek Crossing are positive.
Wal-Mart’s presence at the development has certainly helped.
“That’s what it takes to start a project, is an anchor retailer,” he said.
The site of Wal-Mart is much bigger than where the store typically builds, but Mid-America’s partnership with Gatlin Development has helped make that happen, Sims said.
Keeping the food court building on the property instead of demolishing it with the rest of the mall took a “vision” from the developer, he added.
At one point, Sam’s Club was interested in development where the food court building is located, but passed on the project.
Sims said six months ago it still would have been a possibility for the food court building to be demolished, but now it is not.
Other businesses have also been eyeing the Shingle Creek Crossing Development including Foot Locker, Cherry Berry Frozen Yogurt, and Panda Express, Sims said.
One challenge has been drawing interest from “sit down” restaurants that would want to build new on the site, Sims said.
But that is a universal problem at retail development sites in the current market, he said, not just Brooklyn Center’s.
Overall, when Wal-Mart’s construction started to show on the site Sims said the phone started ringing.
“You’re going to be very proud of what Gatlin is going to create,” he told the audience of city staff and local business representatives at the BCBA meeting last week.
Teresa Schutz Esler, president of the BCBA, asked Sims what interest they’ve had from local companies both in Minnesota and Brooklyn Center, such as Caribou Coffee and Surly Brewing Co.
Sims responded that Caribou Coffee is in the market for expansion and that they did contact Best Buy about that company’s future plans.
The Best Buy store in Brooklyn Center closed June 21 in addition to the Edina location.
The Richfield-based retailer is closing five total stores as part of a transformation of its presence in the Twin Cities area and the launch of “Connected Stores” that provide better service and product interactivity.
“We all want to see Best Buy survive,” Sims said. “We’re not sure what that brick and mortar is going to be.”
Sims said overall one of their goals is to promote Shingle Creek Crossing as a destination for out-of-town visitors as well as local residents.
Dana Anderson, from Cub Foods in Brooklyn Center, said he welcomes the development for that reason, even with the potential competition from Wal-Mart.
“I think it’s going to draw people up here,” he said.
Wal-Mart will open in mid-September and other businesses with finalized plans are Chick-fil-a, Popeye’s, Dairy Queen and LA Fitness.
When complete Shingle Creek Crossing will be an indoor/outdoor mall with four multi-tenant buildings, three “junior box” stores, such as Office Max, and six restaurants.
LA Fitness will be on the northwest portion of the property, behind an existing Holiday gas station. The three restaurants will be on the north end of the site.
There are currently 20 Wal-Mart stores in the Twin Cities metro area, still in the shadow of Target’s 50 locations, but six are in development as well, Sims said.
“It’s not an easy process to say the least,” Sims said. “Wal-Mart believed in the market, they believed in the site,” he said. “When that store opens in mid-September, it’s going to be a big ‘wow’ factor.”