New Details Emerge For Major Woodbury Redevelopment Plan

Kraus-Anderson and Elion Partners hope to break ground on a major mixed-use development after closing on the purchase of the former State Farm Insurance campus this summer.

Minneapolis-based construction company Kraus-Anderson said Wednesday that it plans to join forces with a Florida-based real estate investment firm to redevelop a long-vacant 100-acre site in Woodbury.

Kraus-Anderson said that it has created a joint venture with Elion Partners to redevelop the site that previously housed the regional headquarters for State Farm Insurance.

The campus, located at the corner of Radio Drive and Highway 94, includes a 420,000-square-foot office building that has been vacant since the spring of 2005. There have been several unsuccessful attempts by various companies and investors to acquire and redevelop the property, but each has fizzled.

For example, in 2010, St. Paul-based Wellington Mangagement, Inc., said it struck a deal to buy the property, but that complex deal later fell through.

Kraus-Anderson has yet to submit a formal development application to the City of Woodbury, and the plan would require re-zoning to allow a mix of office and retail tenants. But the company is confident that its plan will proceed because it was developed in close collaboration with city officials, and it satisfies the city’s desire to include office tenants, Matt Alexander, Kraus-Anderson’s director of real estate development, told Twin Cities Business.

Kraus-Anderson plans to submit its official application within the next 60 days and hopes to begin construction this summer, when the deal for the land is slated to close, according to Alexander, who declined to disclose the price of the property. If all proceeds as planned, Kraus-Anderson hopes the project’s first tenants will open their doors in 2015.

“The partnership between Elion and Kraus-Anderson is wonderful news for the city,” Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said in a statement. “While Elion has yet to submit a formal development application for this proposal, they clearly have a plan for moving forward. We are excited for this development to evolve into another cornerstone of economic growth for the City of Woodbury.”

Plan Calls For Offices, Retail, a Hotel, and More

Kraus-Anderson said it and Elion Partners will transform the “high-profile property” into a 700,000-square-foot commercial development complete with retailers, restaurants, and office space. Plans also call for a hotel, bank, two medical office buildings, and a day care facility, the company said.

Kraus-Anderson is currently in lease negotiations with “an established national hotel chain, a national high-end grocer, and with several restaurant and retail tenants,” according to Alexander.

The redevelopment would take advantage of the existing office building while adding about 300,000 square feet of new construction. Kraus-Anderson said it believes the amenities included in the larger development project will make the existing office building “an attractive home for large office tenants.”

If approved, the project will be completed in phases, and site work is slated to begin this summer. Kraus-Anderson said it will incorporate the area’s “rolling hills and landscapes” into its design, and the property will become “a destination-minded environment with eco appeal.”

Elion Partners Managing Principal Shlomo Khoudari said in a statement that the companies have worked closely with the City of Woodbury, describing the municipality as a “strategic partner” that was “instrumental” in developing the plan.

Alexander said, however, that the city has not extended financial incentives for the project. He also said that it was too early to estimate the planned project’s total cost, as the formal application has not been submitted.

News surfaced last fall that Elion had a contract to buy the land and the office building that resides on it. But it wasn’t revealed until Wednesday that Kraus-Anderson had signed on not only as a developer, but also as an investor in the project, through its joint venture with Elion.