The Minnetonka City Council unanimously approved the final building plans for Dick’s Sporting Goods to move into the former Sears location at Ridgedale Center. The new store is expected to open at the end of the year and including additional features to attract more in-store traffic.
The approved plans were revised from the original plans reviewed by the Planning Commission Jan. 7, at which time the planning commissioners voted 4-3 to recommend the City Council deny the request. Some of the concerns outlined were related to the roofline and future tenant space.
After the Planning Commission meeting, the applicant submitted revised plans.
Though a step in the right direction, city staff members said the changes weren’t sufficient enough to recommend council approval.
After further revisions, the council approved the plans at the meeting Feb. 8.
The revised plans reflect a building facade that is cohesive with other recent mall exterior renovations and additions and the surrounding development, according to the staff report. The updated plan also addresses the major issue: the sign and supporting structure be more integrated into the building.
“I’m very encouraged by this,” said Mayor Brad Wiersum, thanking all those involved in the year-long process.
The sporting goods store will move from its current location across Interstate 394 at WestRidge Market to 103,650 square feet of the former Sears space. The interior will be remodeled, and the existing façade would be updated to reflect the store’s brand.
The signs and facade improvements for the future tenants were removed from the proposal.
Some site improvements were also removed from the application, specifically a sidewalk and landscaping improvements due to the financial commitment. The developer, Brookfield Properties, has committed to including those in the second phase of development with the build-out of the remaining tenant space.
Shannon Yeakel, a representative for Dick’s Sporting Goods, told the council that the plan would be to move in toward the end of the year.
“We have a lot of new elements, a lot of new concepts, that we want to introduce in this location,” Yeakel said, noting that those elements include incorporating a climbing wall.
Yeakel said she appreciates everyone’s help in this process and looks forward to moving over to Ridgedale Center.
While not as comprehensive of a solution with the elimination of some of the site improvements, Wiersum said it is a “solidly strategic solution” in which the city did not compromise on its standards.
Councilmember Bradley Schaeppi said he was encouraged to hear of the climbing wall, which will promote more in-store foot traffic in a retail climate where customers have grown accustomed to curbside pickup options.
With more people shopping online, Schaeppi said it’s important to create different uses for people to come to the mall in order to protect this city asset.
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