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Eagan’s Advisory Planning Commission reviewed plans for a new Olive Garden restaurant, which could be built in the Central Park Commons District.

Restaurant has plans for Central Park Commons

Olive Garden hopes to be part of Eagan’s family soon.

Eagan’s Advisory Planning Commission approved plans during its Nov. 26 meeting to build the restaurant in the Central Park Commons District on the southwest corner of Pilot Knob Road and Central Parkway during a meeting last month.

Olive Garden hopes to build a new prototype restaurant, one of two in the country, which includes architectural changes, a retail area and a separate to-go area.

According to documents shared with the commission, the restaurant intends to be a full-service, casual dining restaurant serving both lunch and dinner.

The latest architectural design features a “modern twist on the traditional Tuscan farmhouse” featuring a “wall of windows” and a new “to-go/market area.”

Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring and take about five months.

Eagan City Council should review the plans later in December.

The restaurant would fill one of the remaining lots within the Central Park Commons District, which opened in 2016.

“We’ve been delighted by the success of the center,” said John Johannson, partner with CSM corporation, which is the owner/developer/property manager of Central Park Commons “It’s become a destination.”

Three more restaurants are platted for south of Olive Garden.

The developer’s plans also include a combined 7,000-square-foot restaurant and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant on the lot south of the proposed Olive Garden. There’s also another spot for a 8,600-square-foot restaurant north of Central Park Commons Drive and DSW, Designer Shoe Warehouse.

Johannson said their plans are flexible.

Johannson said they began marketing the restaurant lots prior to 2015, the same time they were talking with Hy-Vee and other tenants. Other tenants such as Hobby Lobby, Sierra Trading Post, Five Below and Marshalls have found a home in the commercial district as well.

“(Olive Garden) is the first one that’s stepped up to do the deal,” Johansen said.

Johannson said the restaurant market is challenging economically in Minnesota with “no tip credit, labor and wages.” It’s particularly challenging building a restaurant from the ground up.

But Olive Garden was enamored with the center and the “Minnesota market is really good for restaurants,” Johannson said.

Central Park Commons includes several fast casual restaurants such as Punch Pizza, R Taco, Naf Naf Grill, Zupas, Piada Italian Street Food and Hawaii Poke Bowl.

Hy-Vee has a Market Grille attached to the grocery story as well.

The closest Olive Garden in the south metro is in Burnsville at 1451 County Road 42 West.

Mixed use

The Advisory Planning Commission also heard about a proposed mixed use development at 855 Vikings Parkway.

Plans include an 8,000-square-foot day care building as well as a 20,600-square-foot multi-tenant building. One of the tenants would be a Caribou Coffee shop with an expanded food platform and drive-through service.

“Hopefully this is something to add to the area and provide services to people and office users in the area,” said Brenda Quaye owner of Vendstar, LLC.

Quaye said developers are talking with three day care franchises. Quaye said she has a bank, cafe and exercise facility “letters of intent” on her desk.

The building also has blueprints for a corner outdoor patio for a future restaurant tenants.

The development would be built near the Viking Lakes development, along with Ecolab and Prime Therapeutic properties.

Both Olive Garden and the mixed use development items were approved by the commission and will move on to the Eagan City Council.

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