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What's happening with State Farm building? Plans being revealed Thursday

The former State Farm building is attracting attetion again now that a purchase deal with Elion Partners is imminent. (Staff photo by Riham Feshir)

A large building that’s been sitting vacant in Woodbury for eight years may have finally found a new owner.

The former State Farm building, now dubbed the “Woodbury Corporate Center,” is under contract by the Florida-based real estate investment group Elion Partners.

The company announced last week that it will purchase the 450,000 square-foot office building located on 100 acres at Radio Drive and Interstate 94.

Elion plans to continue using the space under the city’s “places to work” land-use designation and also add new uses designed to enhance the attractiveness of the location. More details of the plans will be revealed Thursday.

“This property has a strategic location, tremendous access, robust infrastructure and untapped potential,” said Juan DeAngulo, partner and chief operating officer for Elion Partners. “We look forward to continuing to work with the city and the real estate community in the Twin Cities to create a premier environment for today’s business.”

The former State Farm building, which served as a regional office for the insurance company for seven years, closed in 2003 when operations moved to locations in Mendota Heights and Lincoln, Neb. For a time it was the city’s largest employer.

By 2005, the building was empty and State Farm was marketing it for sale.

A number of parties have previously shown interest in the property, including Wellington Management, which executed a contract for sale in 2010 and backed out of the deal in the spring of 2011.

Wellington had planned to bring retail to the campus, including a Costco store, which would’ve required a land-use change. President of the company, Steve Wellington, never submitted an official proposal to the city.

Woodbury Community Development Director Dwight Picha said the Elion deal is as far as the city has ever gotten with a potential partner to redevelop the campus. He said preliminary plans complement the city’s vision for the property.

“We’re very encouraged by the interest in the property,” Picha said. “We’re excited about the prospect of working with the Elion group as they continue to work with us on the concept design phase.”

Initial review of the plans, which will be presented Thursday at the annual Woodbury Business Classic, show the current building as the focal point of the campus with a variety of other office space, Picha said.

Washington County property tax records put the value of the land at about $8.6 million, with a total property value at $20.6 million, including improvements.

State Farm had been maintaining and paying taxes on the property. The company paid a total of $802,536 in taxes this year.

State Farm officials declined to comment on the details of the deal or explain the difference between Elion and Wellington agreements. But a spokesperson said the company is excited about the latest developments.

“We are pleased plans are moving forward to utilize our former facility,” said Ann Avery, spokeswoman for State Farm.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.