The property at 9015 Broderick Boulevard in Inver Grove Heights, known to many as the former Rainbow Foods grocery store, is now actively being marketed and is for sale or lease, and a number of businesses have expressed initial interest in leasing and/or purchasing the building.
The property sat idle since Rainbow Foods closed, and the property owners were not listing the property as for sale or lease. But just recently, the owners have decided to put the building on the market. The process is in the early stages, but businesses are starting to show interest. But like any business deal, especially involving real estate, speculation is never divulged until the deal is done.
But we do have some insight on what may be coming – and what likely won’t be coming.
Eat IGH caught up with Mark Robinson, an Investment Sales Specialist with Mid-America Real Estate – Minnesota, LLC, the Minneapolis-based company that is marketing the 56,202 square foot property, to discuss this and more:
EatIGH: Can you tell us about your company, what you do, and your role in promoting and marketing the property at 9015 Broderick Boulevard in Inver Grove Heights, known to many as the former Rainbow Foods grocery store?
Robinson: Mid-America Real Estate is a full service third party management, leasing, investment sales, construction management, and accounting firm specializing solely in retail real estate. We are one of five offices throughout the Midwest and we manage and/or lease about 10,000,000 square feet of retail space throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. I head up our local investment sales division that handles retail single and multi-tenant investment sales as well as building sales such as this one. We are listing this property as available for sale or lease and acting as the broker on behalf of ownership.
EatIGH: Where are things at with this property, formerly home to Rainbow Foods? What has developed recently and where are things going forward?
Robinson: We just began the marketing process, but have had some good amount of interest from traditional and non-traditional retail users. It is very preliminary and thus too soon to tell you where things will go, but I suspect we’ll have more to talk about in the coming weeks.
EatIGH: You mentioned there has some been some interest in this property. Is the interest in buying it, leasing it, or both?
Robinson: We have users interested in both buying and leasing of the property. I’d say a majority of the interest so far has been in purchasing.
EatIGH: What types of businesses have expressed an interest in this property?
Robinson: As I mentioned, we have had both retail and non-traditional retail users interested. I am not able to share any specific uses at this time but can tell you it has been all over the board.
EatIGH: This location was previously home to a Rainbow Foods grocery store. Is there a possibility a grocery store would come to this location? Or, is the reality that it really could be any type of business and not just a grocery store?
Robinson: I would love to see a grocery store backfill this given the build out in place and the lack of competition in the immediate area. That being said, based on many preliminary conversations with grocers it seems that this may be a difficult task given the lack of dense population in the immediate trade area as well as lack of co-tenancy or other strong retail in the area. My gut would be that this will be something other than a grocery store.
EatIGH: Hy-Vee has opened in Oakdale and is opening in Cottage Grove and Eagan. They have told Eat IGH they have no plans to open in IGH and that makes sense since they are opening in surrounding communities. Trader Joe’s would not be a fit. Inver Grove Heights desperately want an alternative for Cub Foods. Is there any realistic chance that a grocery store would choose to open in this location?
Robinson: Per my answer to the last question, I think the likelihood is slim but not impossible. We have reached out and will continue to do so to all potential grocers both national and local. This site is too small for a prototypical Hy-Vee and too large for a prototypical Trader Joe’s.
EatIGH: This property is part of the Arbor Pointe Commons area of Inver Grove Heights that has struggled to retain businesses. What are the challenges of doing/opening business in this area of the city?
Robinson: The reality of this site is that it sits at the “end” of the trade area (on the south side where density trails off) and given the physical barriers (the river and highway system) there is not a great 360 degree trade area like most retailers search for. For that reason, the demographic analysis that these retailers do does not come out favorable. The incomes look good, however the population density doesn’t show well to support a high volume retail concept such as a grocer, general goods, clothing, etc. Short of building thousands of single family and multi-family homes in the immediate vicinity, there’s not much that can be done to make the demographics better.
EatIGH: What role does the City of Inver Grove Heights, local Chamber of Commerce and economic development groups, like Progress Plus, play in attracting a tenant to this location?
Robinson: Everything that can be done to entice a tenant or user to this location is helpful and needed. I am certain that the city will play a major part in approving uses, plans, and helping any potential occupant here to understand the market and open for business here. The city was one of my first calls when we listed this property as a good relationship with them and having their support and resources is paramount to getting a business into this location as soon as possible.
EatIGH: What is unique about this property and the city of Inver Grove Heights that would make this attractive for a tenant or buyer?
Robinson: The proximity and visibility to a major commuting highway is a major reason this property will be attractive to a user. In addition the nice housing stock, good incomes, and lack of competition for certain uses in the area will attract users. Lastly, the building is in good condition and has an attractive build out in place for many uses. Note: In addition to the Rainbow building, the sale of this property can include the adjacent strip center as well.
EatIGH: If we were to forecast into the future, say 6 months or one year, what would be realistic about this property? Will it be filled or is it too hard to say at this point?
Robinson: Probably too soon to tell exactly, but my gut says that it will be filled by then or at least have some momentum such as construction or plan approvals in progress.
EatIGH: What else is unique or should readers understand about this property and what could develop?
Robinson: It’s best to understand that this will be marketed to a plethora of users, including grocery stores that many residents likely would desire. That being said, we need to understand that the use may or may not be grocery or traditional retail given many of the demographic and trade area hurdles. Regardless, it’s highly likely that whatever use does end up opening here will bring jobs and needed goods/services to the area.