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Mills Fleet Farm now aims for July opening
by Nick Mason
Jan 29, 2012 | 4390 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Construction is progressing quickly at Mills Fleet Farm in Carver.
Construction is progressing quickly at Mills Fleet Farm in Carver.
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July 10 is the new target date for opening the Mills Fleet Farm store being built in the city of Carver.

Construction started last June and is progressing faster than expected, due at least partly to generally dry weather last fall and mild conditions this winter.

“They are doing pretty well on rain days. It’s been a pretty good fall for them,” Carver Building Official Mark Pistulka told the Carver City Council on Jan. 3.

Mills Properties Inc. of Brainerd previously set the month of August to open the Fleet Farm and companion Mills Gas Mart convenience store and Mills Car Wash on Levi Griffin Road, northwest of Highway 212 and Jonathan Carver Parkway.

A written construction schedule submitted by the project manager for Mills Properties to Carver city officials identifies July 10 for Fleet Farm to start welcoming customers.

“It’s fairly accurate,” Pistulka told councilors of the schedule. “But it could shift up to four or five days.”

The schedule also identifies “substantial completion” of the car wash on Feb. 29 and of the convenience store on March 26. Exterior paving for both buildings is scheduled in late May.

Mills Properties is not expected to open the convenience store or car wash before the Fleet Farm opens.

“It’s my understanding Mills wants to open all of them at the same time,” Pistulka told the Chaska Herald.

Ron Obeidzinski, vice president and chief financial officer of Mills Properties, could not be reached for comment. He did not return two telephone calls with voice-mail messages left for him this month.

Bruce Buxton of Widseth Smith Nolting, the project manager for Mills Properties, declined to make any public comment about the construction schedule his firm submitted to city officials.

The city’s contractor building Levi Griffin Road, which serves as the entrance road to the Mills complex, has a June 30 deadline to finish work. But City Engineer Dan Boyum told the City Council that the four-lane road could handle traffic before Ryan Contracting Co. of Elko finishes the project.

Councilors and their staff spent about a year negotiating a deal with Mills Properties to launch commercial development along the Highway 212 corridor.

Councilors agreed to pay Mills Properties a maximum public subsidy exceeding $1.48 million because they believe a high-profile Fleet Farm will spark several more commercial developments nearby. The subsidy is structured as a partial rebate of annual property taxes the company will pay from 2013 until 2021.

The result were plans for a 255,509 square-foot (almost 6 acres) Fleet Farm, a 4,307 square-foot convenience store with gasoline, diesel and kerosene dispensers, and a 5,080 square-foot car wash with four washing bays.

Fleet Farm sells clothing, furniture, housewares, electronics, vehicle parts and accessories, lawn and garden supplies, pet supplies, sporting goods, and farm and livestock supplies at 31 locations, mostly small cities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota.

The company’s 32nd store in Carver will fill a gap in the southwest Twin Cities metro area. The closest Fleet Farm now is in Lakeville, nearly 25 miles from downtown Carver.

In written and verbal summaries, Pistulka updated councilors Jan. 3 on the progress.

“Currently [cement] floors are being poured in the main building [Fleet Farm] and should be completed by early February,” Pistulka wrote. “The c-store and car wash floors will be poured by early January. Once all the floors have been completed the electricians, fire sprinkler, mechanical and plumbing contractors will continue with their work.

“We have been told Mills wants to start installing shelving as well as stocking them by mid April,” Pistulka wrote.

“At this time, the city would issue a temporary certificate of occupancy, provided all life safety issues are resolved,” he wrote. “Items that would need to be completed would include fire sprinklers and alarms, exit lighting, and electrical, as well as substantial completion of the mechanical and plumbing systems.

“Mills is planning on a final certification of occupancy by early June,” Pistulka wrote.
Comments
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Sandy Krause
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January 31, 2012
So excited to have this fleet farm in Carver - my family is very excited!

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