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SuperTarget plan extended, but retailer not planning to build

Woodbury Mayor Bill Hargis said he is asked often by community members whether the city knows when the planned SuperTarget in east Woodbury will be built.

A developer trying to bring a SuperTarget to Woodbury was granted a one-year city permit extension, but construction here is not in the retailer's 2010 plans.

Woodbury Developers LLC received a building plan extension for its Commerce Hill development that included a 185,000-square-foot SuperTarget. The City Council approved the extension through Oct. 8, 2010.

However, Target Corp. has not announced plans to open a second Woodbury store before the end of next year. Target plans 12 new stores nationally in 2010, spokeswoman Jill Hornbacher said. None of those is in Minnesota.

"We're still interested in building another Target in the Woodbury area, but it would be premature to confirm when that would be," Hornbacher said.

Paul Maenner of Woodbury Developers acknowledged that the firm sought the extension, but refused to discuss the status of the SuperTarget project.

"I would really prefer not to comment at all on anything related to this project," he said.

Target's Greatland store on Valley Creek Road features some food items, but a SuperTarget would offer a full grocery section.

Large development projects routinely need a one-year permit extension, said Dwight Picha, Woodbury's community development director.

Also, Picha said, the current economic conditions make it difficult for developers to go ahead with projects the size of Commerce Hill, which was estimated to include nearly 290,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The Commerce Hill project, planned for a nearly 40-acre parcel west of Woodbury Drive and north of Tamarack Road, initially had trouble getting city backing. The council denied a development and site plan in June 2008 amid questions about how infrastructure and traffic issues would be addressed. Four months later, after those issues resolved, the project got council backing.

Target then backed away from the project earlier this year, when it reconsidered its development plans because of the bad economy.

The council approved the extension Wednesday, Sept. 23, but city officials said they are not privy to negotiations between Woodbury Developers and Target, so do not know whether the project will go forward within the next 12 months.

"It's out of the city's hands right now," Woodbury senior planner Melissa Douglas said.

There is significant public interest in the retailer's plans, Mayor Bill Hargis said.

"That's one of the more frequent questions that I get out in the community - when or if the SuperTarget project is going to go," he said.