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Proposed G-Will liquor store would anchor retail center in Cottage Grove

A preliminary development agreement has been approved for the construction of a new G-Will Liquors in Cottage Grove, sparking conversation about a multi-building retail center on the west side of Highway 61.

The Cottage Grove Economic Development Authority reviewed rough specs of the proposed 13,000-square-foot store earlier this week. The liquor store would occupy 1.67 acres of the proposed Norris Marketplace across the street from G-Will’s existing store on the corner of 80th Street and Hadley Avenue.

The vacant lot, which is adjacent to the Norris Square Senior Living development, was first slated for development by Presbyterian Homes in 2007 and was approved for 33,600 square feet of retail and restaurant space; a 36,000-square-foot, two-story medical and office building; and a 4,600-square-foot stand-alone restaurant.

The new property owner, Andover-based Rademacher Companies, which also owns all of the Twin Cities’ G-Will Liquors, plans to modify the master plan by separating the proposed liquor store and anchoring it on the northeast corner of the lot.

Preliminary development plans show that 80th Street will be the main access point and it will be identified as Norris Marketplace. Another access point into the retail center will be available on Hadley Avenue.

The city reviewed the existing traffic study included with the original development plan, and based on the proposed use and site design found no traffic safety concerns.

The exterior of the building will look similar to the existing store, Economic Development Director Danette Parr said, but will emulate architectural standards from the adjacent senior living facility.

“I just want to make sure there is the clear message that this will be a quality looking building that will blend nicely into the community,” Mayor Myron Bailey said.

A commercial loading dock will be located on the northwest corner of the building with a two-way access drive available to trucks.

The project also includes 64 parking spaces with two interior parking islands, a recommended buffer area of a minimum of 10 feet between the parking lot and the 80th Street sidewalk, landscaping of a common plaza on the corner of the lot and lighting that will not disturb the senior living facility.

Parr told EDA members that Presbyterian Homes, which owns Norris Square, has been a part of the conversation since the project’s inception and will take part in the development as it progresses.

Also part of the development agreement, Rademacher Companies must enter into a minimum assessment agreement because the plat lies within a city TIF district.

The agreement specifies the developer must agree the minimum market value of the property and minimum improvements will be $1.025 million, a figure City Administrator Ryan Schroeder said was a “reasonable value.” The 2015 taxes will also be based upon that number as it will be considered a newly created parcel.

The plat is currently zoned for retail business and is in the city’s 2030 comprehensive plan for commercial land use.

Applications for the preliminary and final plats are in at the city, however Rademacher Companies remains tight-lipped on the project. Grant Rademacher declined to comment on proposed development Wednesday or say why the business wants to relocate across the street, but did say “we are still in motion and nothing is finalized yet.”

The development plans are anticipated to go before the Planning Commission later this month and into the hands of the City Council by early November.

Schroeder said he does not know when construction might start but said the company is expected to move out of the current G-Will Liquors location by mid-2014.

The future of the existing building has yet to be determined, but Parr said she anticipates the building’s broker to “aggressively” solicit renters closer to the completion of the new building.