Lunds Reveals Downtown Grocery, Liquor Store Plans

Lunds, which has long considered opening a grocery store in downtown Minneapolis, is now moving forward with plans for a 20,000-square-foot supermarket and a 5,639-square-foot liquor store, pending approval from the city.

The much-discussed plans for a Lunds grocery store in downtown Minneapolis are finally moving forward-and they include an outdoor patio, leasable office space in the development's upper floors, and a liquor store around the corner.

Aaron Sorenson, a spokesman for Lund Food Holdings, Inc., on Monday said that the company hopes to begin construction on the project this fall, with a grand opening slated for spring 2012, pending necessary approvals from the City of Minneapolis.

Twin Cities Business in March reported that Lunds was revisiting earlier plans to open a grocery store in downtown in historic buildings that it purchased, but no official documents had been submitted at the time.

Plans recently submitted to Minneapolis' Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) show the proposed grocery store at the corner of Hennepin Avenue and 12th Street South. The HPC reviews proposals that involve historic buildings and districts, including the former automotive district in which Lunds intends to build its new store.

The supermarket would occupy about 9,000 square feet in the lower level of an existing three-story building, which would feature office space in the upper floors. Plans call for a 10,778-square-foot addition next to the existing building, giving the grocery store a total footprint of about 20,000 square feet.

Sorenson said that the new store will feature “all of the departments you'd expect,” including deli, bakery, grocery, meat, seafood, and sushi-as well as a Bachman's store and perhaps a Caribou coffee shop.

Lunds' plans also call for a 5,639-square-foot liquor store at 1208 Harmon Place, on the other side of the block from the proposed supermarket. Planning documents indicate that it would occupy the ground floor of an existing building and feature offices on the second level, which Lunds would lease to tenants.

The development would also include a patio with outdoor seating and a “rain garden,” including grass, shrubbery, and flowers. “We believe this is an effective way to handle rainwater on the site that is effective and aesthetically appealing,” Sorenson said.

He also said the new store would emphasize “high-quality grab-and-go items,” much like the Northeast Minneapolis location. But the downtown supermarket would “have the flavor and feel of the historic building” it's housed in, including plaster columns, large windows, and tall ceilings.

During the past decade, Lunds bought up nearly the entire city block surrounded by Hennepin Avenue, Harmon Place, 12th Street, and 13th Street. It since put development plans on hold but said in March that it was putting together a plan for the new location. Following approval from the HPC, Lunds' proposal will need to be OK'd by the city's planning commission.

Minneapolis residents have showed interest in a downtown grocery store for a long time. In a recent survey conducted by Twin Cities Business, respondents indicated that grocery is among the types of retail that the area lacks. In fact, a handful of responses denoted Lunds or Byerly's stores as top picks.