If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck … does that make it a duck?
Plans for a 40,000-square-foot grocery store whose owner is being kept secret were recommended for approval Monday, Sept. 27, by the Eden Prairie Planning Commission.
The schematic drawings for what’s being called “Flying Cloud Commons Grocery Store” show a building façade similar to those used for Amazon Fresh grocery stores; the developer on Monday noted that its client is a national grocer; and Toronto-based NORR, listed as architect for the Eden Prairie project, has been linked to other Amazon Fresh projects nationwide.
But the store’s name is being withheld – even to city officials, at this point.
What is known is that the grocery store is different than the Lakewinds Food Co-op that had been expected to be built on the site, which is southwest of the busy, highly visible intersection of Flying Cloud Drive and Prairie Center Drive.
The 2020 plan for a 25,000-square-foot Lakewinds grocery store failed to materialize, and so the revised plan for a larger store means that a possible future restaurant and a coffee shop – conceptually proposed in the earlier plan – will also not be built.
In the end, the development being managed by Excelsior-based Oppidan Investment Co. is expected to contain the nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant and Bank of America branch already approved by the city, as well as the 40,000-square-foot grocery store, if approved next by the city council.
Among Eden Prairie grocery stores, the unnamed store would be similar in square footage to Jerry’s Foods (41,000 square feet, according to city staff), smaller than both Cub Foods (92,000 square feet) and Lunds & Byerlys (59,000 square feet), but bigger than ALDI (25,000 square feet).
According to an Amazon website, there are currently 18 Amazon Fresh grocery stores in six states and in Washington, D.C. Features include an “Amazon Dash Cart,” a high-tech shopping cart that allows shoppers to skip the typical check-out line. Shoppers pass through a Dash Cart lane and items in the cart are automatically identified by computer and charged to one’s credit-card account.