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For Lease: St. Anthony Wal-Mart closes
The Wal-Mart at Silver Lake Village is now gone, having closed April 8 in favor of a bigger and brand new Wal-Mart location in Roseville, fewer than three miles away, which offers the same host of services as the former store, as well as selling food.
The St. Anthony store, formerly at 3800 Silver Lake Rd. NE, which was open for less than a decade, is now vacant, and what goes in there next is anybody’s guess.
Silver Lake Village opened in 2005 on the former site of Apache Plaza, anchored by Wal-Mart and Cub Foods. At that time, Wal-Mart signed a 20-year-lease, while Cub Foods’ lease prohibited other retailers in the development from having more than 10,000 square feet of food retailing space, a main factor in Wal-Mart’s eventual move.
Inland Real Estate, which owns Silver Lake Village and the former Wal-Mart building, is marketing the space along with Wal-Mart itself, which has the building listed through its in-house realty division. Wal-Mart is also represented locally by Mid American Group.
At a St. Anthony City Council meeting in January, Rick Plessner, a vice president at Inland, told the council that Inland was shocked by the impending closure and that the company would have to wait three years before taking sole possession of the vacant store, and will, in the meantime, negotiate with Wal-Mart to help find a new occupant for the space.
“Inland wants the community to know that they have a significant investment in this property and are committed to keeping the city informed of its negotiations with Wal-Mart and its progress in finding a replacement tenant,” Plessner said at the meeting.
Multiple calls to Plessner for further comment about the tenant search were not returned, while Doug Sailor of Mid American Group said he was bound to have no comment on the matter.
“Businesses come and go in St. Anthony and they don’t tell us anything,” said St. Anthony Mayor Jerry Faust, when asked if he’d heard anything about potential new tenants for the space. “We’d probably be the last ones to know unless they need something.”
Faust stressed that private businesses are under no obligation to update the city on their dealings, and that the best St. Anthony can do is make sure the zoning at the site is amenable to whatever businesses might move in.
St. Anthony City Manager Mark Casey concurred with Faust, and said that zoning would be the city’s biggest contribution to filling the space. He also said he and others at St. Anthony City Hall weren’t taken completely off guard by the news of the closure.
“We, like a lot of folks, heard rumors,” Casey said, noting that it was on his “radar screen” before it became official.
St. Anthony city council member Jim Roth said he’s optimistic that the space will be filled, either by another big box retailer or smaller stores, because it’s in everybody’s best interest, Wal-Mart, Inland, on down.
“It never moves as fast as you want, you want a good fit and I think we will get one,” Roth said. “Fingers crossed.”
Mike Mornson, the city manager of St. Anthony in 2005 when Wal-Mart opened its doors, said that at the time, the city was excited to have Wal-Mart anchoring the development, and that the tax base the store created was responsible for funding improvements of 39th Avenue, which runs through Silver Lake Village, and Salo Park, which is nearby.
Mornson said he was surprised by the closure, and there was “never any concern at the time that Wal-Mart was going to leave.”
At press time, Wal-Mart Realty has 66 buildings listed for lease and 25 buildings listed for sale in the U.S.
Apache Plaza, replaced by Silver Lake Village, opened in 1961 and was the second enclosed shopping mall in Minnesota. Following years of decline, losing stores to nearby Rosedale Center and tornado damage, Apache Plaza was bulldozed in 2004.
Mike Munzenrider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-748-7824.