Lakeville liquor store may expand

National retailer expressed interest

Lakeville’s Kenrick Avenue municipal liquor store may be expanding.

A national retailer, which has not yet been identified by the city, has proposed operating a drive-thru business in an 1,800-square-foot addition onto the store’s south side.

The city is also proposing adding another 1,600-square-foot space to the north side of the building for another retail outlet.

Although the retailer had requested the city to build the space and lease it to them, city officials cited concerns about costs and proposed other options City Council members agreed to pursue at their April 25 work session.

Under their direction, the city will seek proposals to either sell the entire property and lease back the building for the city’s liquor store operation or retain the store and sell off the two retail pads.

Lakeville Liquor Operations Director Brenda Visnovec said either option will enhance value of the property, and noted they would seek complementary businesses when they request proposals.

City Administrator Justin Miller added either option will provide District 194 and Dakota County with more income.

He said the city pays property taxes to itself but not the school district or Dakota County.

“This would be getting those entities back some portion (of taxes),” Miller said.

Miller said the city plans to obtain and appraisal of the 2-acre property and 91,695-square-foot building, valued at $1.7 million according to Dakota County property tax records.

Lakeville Assistant City Administrator Allyn Kuennen said a retaining wall would likely need to be constructed along the back of the building to accommodate the drive-in retailer to the south.

Lakeville Mayor Doug Anderson said he supports seeking bids, but noted the action does not necessarily mean anything will change.

“As we go through this process and we get responses, we don’t need to accept anything,” Anderson said. “It’ll be an interesting experience for us, and hopefully we’ll net a really interesting result.”

The liquor store’s location near the County Road 46 and I-35 intersection raised concern for City Council Member Luke Hellier.

He said he lives nearby, and noting there is already a lot of traffic, which is sometimes further compromised by snow-making operations at nearby Buck Hill.

Hellier requested either a formal or informal traffic study be conducted for the council to consider when evaluating options.

Miller agreed.

“I think we have to take a look at it for sure,” Miller said. “Part of the appeal of the site is that it is an intersection of an interstate and a major thoroughfare coming into the city. The number of cars and traffic is a good thing from a retailer’s standpoint, but I think we have to look at the flow for sure.”

Kuennen said they will follow previous methods in selling property by gathering proposals, reviewing them with the council to evaluate and narrow to the best option.

City Council Member Colleen LaBeau said the process has worked well and been very transparent.

City officials originally planned to expand the Kenrick Avenue store, but dropped those plans, in part because the city has purchased land to build another liquor store on Keokuk Avenue, near the movie theater.

LaBeau thanked Visnovec for being willing to think outside-the-box.

“It could be some good opportunities,” LaBeau said. “It definitely gives us some more options.”