The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 3, 2014

Another distribution center likely coming

MANKATO — The construction schedule for the massive new Wal-Mart distribution center in Mankato is firming up, even as a second large distribution center for another unidentified company is being planned a short distance away on the city's far east side.

Wal-Mart officials met with city staff and utility company representatives Dec. 19 to review plans for the 420,000-square-foot refrigerated distribution center, which is expected to employee 300 people to supply trucks that will distribute goods to Wal-Mart stores in the region. The company's plans are about 60 percent complete, Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said, and a building permit application is expected yet this winter.

Construction is scheduled to be under way by the beginning of May on the $46 million structure with completion by May 2015. By August of next year, hundreds of semis should be rolling in and out of the long-awaited facility each week. The 150-acre Wal-Mart parcel on the southeast corner of the intersection of East Victory Drive and County Road 12 was purchased by Wal-Mart nearly a decade ago, but its original 2008 opening was delayed by the recession.

Meanwhile, the city is finalizing a purchase agreement to sell land north of East Victory Drive for another distribution center for a different company. That project, also in Mankato's Eastwood Industrial Park, is small in comparison to the sprawling Wal-Mart facility but still substantial. The estimated construction cost is $8 million to $10 million.

"This distribution center appears to be a go," Hentges said.

The city's Economic Development Authority will be asked to OK the sale of 10 acres of industrial park land — probably in February — to the developer of the 80,000-square-foot distribution center, he said. As a comparison, the facility will have virtually the identical square footage as Minnesota State University's Bud Myer's Field House.

Until the proposed deal is finalized and presented to the EDA, which is made up of the Mankato City Council, the name of the distribution center's owner and other details are being withheld. But Hentges said the development is proceeding without any requests for city subsidies.

"At this point, there's been no discussion of additional incentives," he said.

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