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Cottage Grove hopes to cash in at retail trade show

The city of Cottage Grove might be on the verge of a retail boom.

The emergence of the Shoppes at Cottage View, the groundbreaking of a 180,000-square-foot Walmart and several plans in the works to fill vacant retail lots, has the city poised to pull in shoppers from around the area.

Once again, city officials plan to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers' retail convention in Las Vegas later this month with the hope of striking some deals.

With multiple plans on the horizon to facilitate a more economically thriving and business friendly atmosphere, Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey said he is optimistic.

"We've been doing a lot of reaching out to businesses and it's really been a two-prong process," he said. "We've been looking at a lot of end users and also have set up some appointments with bigger department stores. At the same time, we are bringing the Shoppes at Cottage View designs to the developer meetings (in Las Vegas) to discuss what is going there."

Bailey said the potential for a state-of-the-art movie theater complex is also incorporated with the Shoppes at Cottage View designs and will most likely be located directly on the former drive-in site.

Some other name-brand companies the city set up meetings with include Hobby Lobby, Maurices and Famous Footwear. Another company that has been requested via social media campaign is Chipotle. After plans for Famous Dave's began to go south, Cottage Grove residents took up a campaign in an attempt to persuade the burrito joint to come to town. And the petition has caught the eye of Bailey, who confirmed that he would be meeting with Chipotle representatives while in Las Vegas.

"We are also meeting with the grocery chain Aldi and they are interested in Cottage Grove," Bailey said. "I've talked to them personally and also a rep for TJ Maxx. TJ Maxx was looking at the possibility of moving into the Home Depot site and Aldi is looking at a couple of other sites in Cottage Grove."

The former Home Depot site, located at 7210 East Point Douglas Road, has sat vacant for nearly four years and despite potential investors showing interest, including LA Fitness, a deal has never been inked. Recently, the city met with representatives of a different company to discuss the future of the building and while Bailey declined to name the company at this time, he said he is confident it will come through.

"What I will say is that the people we are dealing with right now, we've had discussions with them since around Christmas and we feel very confident about this group," Bailey said. "They have the money to buy it outright and can make this project happen. It would be very huge if we can fill the Home Depot site."

Another building that is currently vacant is the former Hollywood Video store. Bailey added that he has also been in talks with a restaurant chain that is interested in the site but a deal would be contingent on what retail moves into the neighboring vacant Home Depot site.

Heading into the conference at the end of this month, Bailey said the city of Cottage Grove will have two stories to tell: Walmart has broken ground and the city is prepared and ready for retail expansion.

"It's encouraging," Bailey said of the potential for more shopping. "There is interest in Cottage Grove and we are a progressive community and we want to welcome the new opportunities for business growth. It just goes to show the effort we have put in in the last four years to attract business and get Cottage Grove out of the shadow of Woodbury. It's a real positive thing."