Two high-profile development projects in Eden Prairie have stalled, and their futures appear uncertain.
One is the Burger King rebuild at Highway 5 and County Road 4; the other is a presumed Amazon Fresh grocery store near Flying Cloud Drive and Prairie Center Drive, near where Chick-fil-A is being constructed.
Plans for a new Burger King fast-food restaurant to replace one that stood vacant for several years southeast of the Highway 5, County Road 4 intersection were approved by the city in August 2021. But the final step – approval of a developer agreement – has been delayed by the project applicant, Chicago-based Cave Enterprises, for unknown reasons.
“We were told recently that Burger King is now considering selling the site and a decision on that may be coming soon,” City Manager Rick Getschow said in an email Dec. 21.
“If the property is sold, a new project would require full review and approval by the City Council,” he added. “The property is zoned commercial and could support a variety of commercial-related uses.”
Cave Enterprises did not return calls requesting an update on their project. Cave is the franchisee for a number of Burger Kings, in Minnesota and elsewhere.
The pause comes at a time when Burger King corporate officials are planning to spend $400 million over the next two years on advertising and renovating their restaurants as part of a broader strategy to revive lagging U.S. sales, according to CNBC, which reported on the new strategy in September.
Grocery store shell is complete
Plans for a 40,000-square-foot grocery store on property in the southwest corner of the Prairie Center and Flying Cloud drives intersection, where Paravel Apartments, Chick-fil-A, and a Bank of America branch are also being built, were approved by the city in October 2021.
The store’s outer shell and parking lot have been constructed, but additional work has stopped. The most recent permits issued by the city building department were in July, for water-meter work. The project is valued at $4.125 million by the department for the purpose of issuing permits.
Although none of the permits specify Amazon Fresh by name, and the project was labeled as the “Flying Cloud Commons Grocery Store” as it went through the city approval process, its design matches those of other Amazon Fresh stores that have been built.
Amazon says it doesn’t comment on its plans for future stores.
City officials are short on details as well. “We understand the internal build-out has been delayed but we are not sure why,” Getschow stated. “We hope and expect the full project will move forward without significant delay.”
A new grocery store in Eden Prairie would face plenty of competition. The list of existing grocery stores includes traditional stores such as Aldi, Cub Foods, Jerry’s Foods, Kowalski’s Market, and Lunds & Byerly’s, plus grocery and department-store combinations including Costco, Target, and Walmart. Beyond those are several specialty grocery stores serving specific foods, including Somali and Asian fare, and service station convenience stores.
The project was initially designed for a Lakewinds Food Co-op, early in the city’s review process, but Lakewinds backed out and the project was revised, though Amazon’s name was withheld.
Among Eden Prairie grocery stores, the store in question would be similar in square footage to Jerry’s Foods (which is 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).
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