Best Buy to Expand Bloomington Facility, Add Workers

The City of Bloomington's Planning Commission unanimously approved Best Buy's plan to add 155,867 square feet to an existing facility in the city.

Best Buy Company, Inc., in March announced plans to shutter 50 big-box stores and eliminate about 400 jobs at its Richfield headquarters-but in Bloomington, the company intends to expand a distribution center and boost its employee headcount.

According to documents filed with the City of Bloomington, Best Buy is planning a 155,867-square-foot addition to its existing 433,648-square-foot facility, which is located at 6201 West 11th Street.

Bloomington's Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan at a meeting last week. During the meeting, Best Buy's distribution center was described as one of the largest buildings in the city; it sits on a 37-acre parcel of land.

The building-which is owned by Chicago-based First Industrial and leased by Best Buy-will expand to the west, and plans call for additional truck and trailer storage, as well as new parking spaces.

A letter that a Best Buy senior project engineer submitted to the city last month indicates that the facility currently employs 112, and the post-expansion facility will employ 140.

Bloomington Planning Manager Glen Markegard said Wednesday that Best Buy would like to begin construction by the end of May and finish the expansion by Thanksgiving. He said that the city is not offering economic development incentives for the project.

Best Buy is Minnesota's third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $50.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended on March 3.

Its Bloomington expansion plans come amid significant company-wide restructuring. In addition to the planned 50 big-box store closures-which include six in Minnesota-and corporate layoffs, the company intends to add 100 new Best Buy Mobile stores in the United States and 50 new Five Star stores in China.

According to recent media reports, the company has made other changes recently. The Wall Street Journal reported that Best Buy has ended a program through which it offered products through Rent-A-Center, Inc., giving customers an opportunity to enter a rent-to-own agreement for electronics products. (News that Best Buy would pilot the program surfaced last August.) Tech news outlet, meanwhile, reported last week that Best Buy will suspend operations of its private label mobile broadband service on June 1. (The company launched that program, called Best Buy Connect, in 2010.)

Best Buy's board of directors recently named the members of a search committee who will select a new CEO to replace Brian Dunn, who resigned in April. G. Mike Mikan currently serves as interim CEO.

And on Wednesday, the Pioneer Press reported that Chief Marketing Officer Barry Judge is leaving the company. Judge's resignation was disclosed in an e-mail from Mikan, the St. Paul newspaper reported.