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Menards Triumphs in ‘Battle’ With Burger King

Menards and east Richfield Burger King reps state their redevelopment cases before the council Tuesday night.

and the seemed blindsided Tuesday night when (140 E. 78th St.) owner Greg Dolphin, the property owners and their legal representation asked the council to stall the .

After the council approved two necessary items— on Menards’ current site and the former property—Burger King reps jumped in during a public hearing regarding the plat. The plat approval was the last thing needed before the end of the year to keep Menards on schedule.

Burger King proposed that the Menards redevelopment include moving the fast food restaurant to the northwest corner of the property and possibly adding a 21st Century Bank location to the mix.

As some may recall, that Menards had hoped to reach an agreement with Burger King to do just that, however, the deal fell through for financial reasons and Menards moved on. The Burger King team alleged that once Menards purchased the Jun Bo property, they were left behind.

“Menards told us they would keep us apprised,” Gregg Nelson, the son of the original restaurant builder and property owner, said. “Then they wouldn’t take our calls."

Berg was visibly miffed by Burger King owners’ attempt to sway the council, saying firmly that he refused to go back and forth on what’s true and what isn’t. He also alleged that one of the reasons for the stall in negotiations was due to Burger King insisting that Menards purchase the restaurant's land and also pay for the building of the new location.

“There are two issues: money and time,” Theron Berg, Menards' real estate manager, said somewhat irritated. “I’ll say it again, and I’ve said it for the last six months, we need approval by the end of the year. … If it is not approved tonight, the [Richfield] store will not be in the [redevelopment] queue for this year.”

—who was a fan of the proposal—asked if there was a way to work it out, however, Berg was more than skeptical of finding a solution.

“There’s not a solution,” Berg said. “The site plan they proposed doesn’t work for us.”

While Burger King presented quite a good case, and many in the audience would’ve thought victory was close behind, the council ultimately decided to approve the plat despite concerns of possible legal action against the city. The vote was unanimous.

“I have to admit that I am severely distressed,” said before the vote. “Menards has been in front of us a number of times. … I’m offended at the way this came about. … You (Burger King) weren’t there. You sat and waited. … I’m not going to reconsider. I going to vote for the plat and you do whatever you want to do.”

Regardless of Berg’s belief that no solution could be reached between the two parties, final site plans have not been approved yet—and Goettel encouraged the two to work it out.

“I don’t know what happened in the past [with your negotiations],” Goettel said. “At this point it doesn’t matter because you can’t change the past. … I hope you go back to the table.”

John December 14, 2011 at 01:55 PM
It would seem Burger King waited until the last minutes too speak out. Was this a tactic? Why weren’t they active in discussion all along? I applaud the decision of the Richfield City Council. I also applaud Menards for improving there business in Richfield. I strongly believe that Menards is a very good fit for Richfield at that location.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) December 14, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Hi John. This is definitely a case of "he said, she said." I think both parties have some blame in what happened last night. However, while Menards could've done more to negotiate with Burger King - since the plan to move the restaurant up is definitely a better option - Burger King had many other opportunities to come to special sessions and other meetings prior to last night. Should be interesting to see what happens next. Do you think Menards should revamp the plans to allow Burger King up front? I think the big issue is money. Who pays what and such.
ann delaney December 14, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Did I undersdtand this right? Burger King wants Menards to buy the land, then give them a corner and Menards should pay for building a store for them? I think I would balk at this arrangement too. If they had asked to be a part of their development to build a store, that would have been a different story. Something is wrong with this picture?
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) December 14, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Hi there Ann. Yes, that is what Theron Berg, Menard's real estate manager, alleged at the meeting. Obviously, there are two sides to every story. Burger King claimed that once the Jun Bo property was purchased - which was earlier in the year - they were left in the dust as Menards moved forward without continuing negotiations. Like I said before, it's a case of he said, she said.
larry couture February 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Hopefully Menards will get better turnaround on plans and permits than the rest of us who have chosen to redevelop on 77th-78th St. When I hear the real estate department indicate it must get in the "queue", I hope they have factored in the fact that Richfield has way more building projects than the staff can support and there are more in the pipeline. Larry Couture Ecosmarte 1600 East 78th St
John April 05, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Anymore status of this? I see Jun Bo is on the groung at this time. And I see the Menards building is close to coming down. But what is planned for Burger King at this time? Are they staying where they are at now?
John April 05, 2012 at 02:18 PM
ground that is
Kent April 26, 2012 at 12:40 PM
There was agreement that Burger King had a good idea but people felt they came to late. Since Menards was in a big hurry to meet their year end deadline I wonder if the Burger King owner just couldn't meet thier timeline. Does it really matter if they had to wait another year? Menards location is neccesary for them as they have no other stores nearby. Is the new Menards going to give us the same right to the sidewalk feeling of most other new buildings in Richfield? Richfield has a great history over the last 20 years or so of rushing to meet the needs of the big company while destroying small businesses. In turn they have a history of missteps and abuses such as classifying homes and businesses as substandard that were not. I love Richfield. I was born and raised here. It just saddens me we are becomming more like an inner city than a quality suburb.
Scotty1972 December 20, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Tear that BK down, I can't ever remember a time that the food was good let alone hot. The staff have been consistently pissed off acting like you're bothering them by being there to eat their overly staged crap !! But at least they are consistent......

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