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Kmart Developers Visit Richfield Planning Commission Monday

Wellington Management Inc. talks with the Richfield Planning Commission about its plans for the vacant Kmart site.

Steve Wellington, Jr., president of Wellington Management Inc., made another appearance at Richfield City Hall Monday night to present the company's initial development plans for the building of an LA Fitness and other retail on the former Kmart site.

Wellington to discuss the three-building plan for the site, which included the possibility of a Goodwill and a restaurant in addition to an LA Fitness.

Wellington said the new development would be about a $10-15 million investment in the community.

"It will bring a lot of people through there, so [the property would be in] active use, which I think is very exciting," said Pete Keely, of Collage Urban Design Studio, an architectural firm working with Wellington on the site development.

Keely said one of the key issues on the site is circulation.

"Even where the access points are right now, getting in and around it can be somewhat problematic," he said. "So, we're trying to be real cognizant of how that happens."

Commissioner Joshua Root said he felt that the one-story structure of LA Fitness would be too suburban, due to the fact that most of the existing development in the area exhibits a downtown, urban feel.

In response, Keely said the one-story stucture is an extremely tall, 40-foot building that might possibly feature a loft level or similar structure, which would fit well with the downtown atmosphere.

"It's up there, it's going to feel like a big building," he said.

The commission also heard from members of the Richfield Chamber of Commerce, including Timothy Carter, managing owner of , Pat Brekken, president of (RBCU) and Mike Elliott, of , who discussed possible ways to attract commercial development.

Community Development Director John Stark said partnerships, especially with the local chamber, are necessary when it comes to attracting businesses to the area.

Carter added that promoting Richfield as a regional draw and highlighting its access to the freeway system are some of the ways to promote commercial development.

"We're not here to tell you what to do or what should go where, that's up to you," Carter said. "We just want to make sure we get people extremely excited about coming here and when they do, you find a way to make it happen."

As reported earlier by Richfield Patch, the Wellington Management Inc. is in its very initial stages of planning for the redevelopment of the Kmart site and we will continue to bring more information to readers as it becomes available.

The next planning commission meeting is at 7 p.m. May 23 at Richfield City Hall.

Molly Darsow April 26, 2011 at 05:11 PM
I would love to have an LA Fitness in Richifield, but it would be awfully close to Ballys. Do you think Ballys could stay in business with the competition? I will never join Ballys again, and would love a new club with amenities. Right now, I take my business to Bloomington. I do think an LA Fitness would draw new consumers in to Richfield. I am not sure about a Goodwill. It seems like Richfield is a hub for thrift and discount shops. It would be nice to steer clear of more thrift/discount shops and gain a specialty retail store instead. A new restaurant would be welcomed, especially if it is not a chain restaurant...we need more restaurants that are unique to Richfield...that will get people visiting our city.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) April 26, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Funny you should mention that Molly because I just assigned the author of this article to do a follow-up story about LA Fitness and its possible impact on Bally's. To be honest, when the plans were announced a couple weeks ago that is the first thing that I thought about. Also, there is a Snap Fitness or something like that in the strip mall across the street, which serves a different customer I think. Anyways, we are working on something about it now!
Claire Killian April 26, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Don't forget about Snap Fitness on 65th and Lyndale.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) April 26, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Yep I mentioned that one too! Thanks Claire.
Row Gray April 28, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Get something the WHOLE community could use. I suggest a Big Lots store. Since Kmart left, we have to travel to other cities to buy the type of products they sold. I prefer to spend where I live and not have to drive so far from home. There are a lot of seniors in that immediate area and I don't think they need any more fitness centers.
Claire Killian April 28, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Whatever they do with the KMart site, please plan on the increased traffic. The stop sign at 66th and Pleasant will need to be made into a stoplight. Drivers don't follow the stop signs as it is now.
Miriam May 02, 2011 at 10:43 PM
I agree with Molly Darsow above. There are no quality fitness centers nearby. I and even friends in nearby South Minneapolis are excited about the possibility. A Trader Joe's would make a great pairing. Not sure how a restaurant would do in that location. Molly is correct the retail that we do have in our city caters largely to a thrifty crowd. The demographics of this community are changing quickly. I am excited about the redevelopment of our city to meet the demands and desires of young families and professionals. It will be nice not to have to go outside of our city to meet our needs. Doesn't our city want to collect sales tax dollars from the younger demographic moving in? I mean, half the time I have to go outside of our city to find a decent wine selection. Richfield liquor is not stepping up it's game. I am excited that there are new and fun things in the works for our city, I just hope it is not led by leadership that represents the babyboomer and older crowd and continues to cater to the retired demographic.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) May 02, 2011 at 10:59 PM
I would love Trader Joe's too! However, I doubt that it would be possible since a large part of the store's business are its wine sales. With Richfield having municipal liquor stores, which fund the parks system, I doubt they'd be willing to allow Joe's to cut in the revenue.
Claire Killian May 03, 2011 at 08:16 PM
There is a Snap on Lyndale, and 53rd and Nicollet. There is also an Anytime Fitness on 54 and Lyndale. Ballys is still busy. This would not be the best location for another fitness spot. The LA Fitness should go in by the Target and Home Depot on Cedar.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) May 03, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Yes Claire. Patch is actually working on a story about this right now! Stay tuned!
robert Coursolle August 10, 2011 at 12:47 AM
We need L.A. fitness with a pool and sauna there is no other facilities nearby-----Ballys does not have these accomodations. Would fit well within the community-----a much needed facility to update Richfield. Everybody goes elsewhere to work out. Where there are full service facilities.
Row Gray August 10, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Bally's HAD a pool. They filled it in and made a workout room. Why, I don't know. And why is everything always centered on the "young professionals". I moved to Richfield because I thought it WAS a nice community of older retired folks.
Claire Killian August 10, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Ballys had a pool, but had to fill it because everytime the train would go by, it would cause cracks in the bottom of the pool.
JonesJababerson September 15, 2012 at 04:27 AM
What about the Snap fittness on lyndale? No one talks about the impact.

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