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Scannell Unveils Massive ‘Project Hotdish’ Warehouse Plan in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

At 2.6 Million Square Feet, Fulfillment Center Could Be the State's Largest Single-User Distribution Site
September 13, 2018
Scannell Properties is planning a 2.6 million-square-foot retail fulfillment center in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. CREDIT: Ford & Associates Architects

In a northern suburb of Minneapolis, developer Scannell is cooking up a fulfillment center code-named Project Hotdish that could be the most massive single-user warehouse in Minnesota.

The 2.6 million-square-foot, 4-story retail fulfillment center, named for a popular Upper Midwest casserole, is the latest result of increased appetite for industrial space outside urban areas across the U.S. as more consumers shop online and expect goods to be delivered rapidly.

It’s unclear if a single high-volume user such as retailers Amazon, Target or Walmart will be digging into Hotdish in Brooklyn Park or if multiple tenants will lease the space.

If plans proceed, the warehouse will take up about a quarter of the 227-acre NorthPark Business Center. NorthPark sits in the area bounded by Winnetka Avenue, 109th Avenue, Highway 169 and the Rush Creek Regional Trail.

No other industrial property in metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul comes close to the size of Hotdish, according to CoStar research. The Opus Group has talked about building a slightly larger one, at 2.8 million square feet, near Blaine Avenue East and County Road 42. While Project Hotdish is almost completed with the approval process, Minnetonka-based developer Opus has not yet filed a formal application for that project, according to Kim Lindquist, community development director for the city of Rosemount.

“It’s big,” said Brooklyn Park’s Senior Planner Todd Larson of Hotdish, adding that its footprint is similar to an existing building, the LDI Distribution Center. Hotdish would be much taller, however. If Indianapolis-based Scannell gets city approval this month, it will be able to begin site work, Larson said. Construction on the building itself would follow in the spring of 2019.

Steve Nilsson, a broker with Colliers’ Minneapolis office, said only three users can handle all this space: retailers Amazon, Target or Walmart.

There has been talk of Walmart upping the ante on space in the Twin Cities. “They’re trying to keep up in the e-commerce footrace, so they would be a possibility. They’re a huge fish, and they want to compete and win,” Nilsson said.

Target could be in the mix, though Nilsson said the company seems to be more focused on revamping its retail locations than building out its distribution network. Target’s U.S. headquarters is located in downtown Minneapolis, and the company’s Northern Campus is located in Brooklyn Park near the proposed Hotdish site. Target and Walmart didn't immediately comment.

Amazon has expanded recently in the Twin Cities with several buildings, including an 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Shakopee. Amazon declined to comment on this project specifically or any potential plans for the Twin Cities.

Larson referred questions about possible tenants to Scannell. Officials with the company didn't immediately comment Tuesday. Scannell’s representatives at Minneapolis’ Cushman & Wakefield office declined to comment.

A traffic study included in the project materials said its data was generated using information provided by the end user of the building, based on the estimated number of employees that would work there over two shifts. The operation, according to the study, would create 7,000 trips a day, with 241 trucks entering and exiting on average.

Scannell’s application states the building will be completed in 2021. The fulfillment center would be just north of three smaller buildings that already exist on the south side of the site, ranging in size from 61,000 to 202,000 square feet. Two others have been proposed and approved, both of which are under 250,000 square feet. No work has yet begun on those buildings, Larson said.

Future phases of development at NorthPark will include a gas station with 10 pumps and either 1.4 million square feet of additional industrial buildings, or 1.15 million square feet in industrial stock with 115,000 square feet of retail and a 25,000-square-foot restaurant.

City officials and Scannell executives showed the project to the public Tuesday night at a neighborhood meeting in Brooklyn Park.

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