The partially-built grocery store thought to be an Amazon Fresh is instead being marketed for another tenant, making it increasingly doubtful the e-commerce giant will ever have a brick-and-mortar grocery presence in Eden Prairie.
Why it matters: A grocery store southwest of the intersection of Flying Cloud and Prairie Center drives would have put food within close walking distance of many apartment residents, including senior citizens in Flagstone and people of all ages who will live in the under-construction Paravel Apartments.
The unfinished, 41,154-square-foot building is now listed by Mid-America Real Estate-Minnesota, LLC as available for sublease by a big-box retailer.
The property is zoned for commercial use, and unless there were changes to the exterior or wider site – such as parking-lot changes – the building could be used by a wide range of retail tenants without triggering city council review, said Julie Klima, the city’s community development director.
A Mid-America representative said they are unable to comment on the matter.
Although neither Amazon nor the developer has ever acknowledged that the “Flying Cloud Commons Grocery Store” referenced in plans approved by the city was actually an Amazon Fresh store, its design matches those of other Amazon Fresh stores that have been built.
However, Amazon has indicated it is reassessing its grocery store initiative.
In a February call with investors, CEO Andy Jassy said Amazon would halt the expansion of its Fresh stores as it experiments in the few dozen stores it has already opened in order to “find a format that we think resonates with customers.”
Construction was suspended last year on a half-dozen Twin Cities-area projects thought to be Amazon Fresh stores, including the one in Eden Prairie.
Here are some other facts about the local project:
- The building is next to the recently completed Chick-fil-A restaurant and an under-construction Bank of America branch.
- The Eden Prairie store’s outer shell and parking lot are complete, but the building is empty inside. The most recent permits issued by the city Building Department were in July 2022 for water-meter work. The project has been valued at $4.125 million by the department for the purpose of issuing permits.
- Eden Prairie has demographics attractive to retailers. However, its list of existing grocery stores is already quite long. That 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 near Flying Cloud Drive and Prairie Center Drive 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.
- The store in question would have been 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).
The flier used by Mid-America to promote the property cites its excellent visibility to one of Eden Prairie’s busiest intersections.
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