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Hundreds of trees removed at former State Farm site

The former State Farm campus is looking a little bare and the building a lot more prominent these days.

That’s because hundreds of trees have been removed from the site, which is undergoing its transformation to the multi-tenant CityPlace development.

Crews ripped up over 1,200 trees that were planted in the mid-1990s to completely revamp the site and replace and reposition parking lots and trails.

“The site has dramatically changed from what it was before,” City Planner Eric Searles said. “That building, it’s amazing how much more present it is from Radio Drive with those trees removed.”

The city worked with developers to come up with a tree replanting plan that includes replacing nearly 1,300 trees with an innovative way to allow for maximum growth at the mixed-use site.

Woodbury Community Development Director Dwight Picha said trees have a hard time growing in harsh commercial settings because of the limited space around them.

CityPlace will have tree trenches that allow drainage from the parking lots to go into the soil for maximum growth.

“It’s been tried around the country and the trees have grown much bigger,” Picha said.

Many Woodbury residents have noticed the difference in the CityPlace site now that grading and utility work has begun. City officials have received a few phone calls and emails regarding tree removal.

Prior to State Farm taking it over, the campus was a radio transmitter tower site with no trees.

“All the trees that were taken down were planted by State Farm,” Picha said.

CityPlace is being prepped for construction of multiple buildings including a Residence Inn hotel, a number of retail buildings to house coffee shops, restaurants and other retailers and the grocery store Whole Foods Market.

The existing office building has not been leased. Whether it will be remodeled to match proposed architectural designs of the other buildings has not yet been determined.

“That’s certainly a possibility,” Picha said. “Part of it will depend on the tenant leasing the space.”

The 100-acre site will be done in phases with retailers starting to open next year. The entire development is expected to be finished in about five years.

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.