Biz Buzz: Permit lists new tenant for former J.C. Penney store

HomeGoods would take the smaller of the two spaces in the renovated interior of the former big box store in Baxter.

After decades in the lakes area, J.C. Penney Co. surprised many with an announcement it was closing its new store in Baxter. The department store ended its run in July. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch
After decades in the lakes area, J.C. Penney Co. surprised many with an announcement it was closing its new store in Baxter. The department store ended its run in July. Renee Richardson/Brainerd Dispatch
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BAXTER — Recent permit activity highlighted new life for the long vacant former J.C. Penney building in Baxter and now is indicating what is slated to be inside.

An application for a building permit with the city lists HomeGoods as the tenant. HomeGoods is listed in the smaller of the two planned retail spaces inside the former big box department store.

HomeGoods store front from permit application
HomeGoods is listed as the new tenant in a building permit before the city of Baxter in June of 2022.
Courtesy / City of Baxter

The new building permit before the city is to redevelop the interior of the vacant building into two retail spots, one taking about two-thirds of the interior and HomeGoods the other third. Construction valuation for the commercial remodel is $1,939,850 to ready the space for HomeGoods.

According to HomeGoods’ website there are four HomeGoods stores in Minnesota, with the closest in St. Cloud and the others in the Twin Cities metro area.

“At HomeGoods, we deliver incredible value on an ever-changing selection of exciting top brands and home fashions from around the world, at prices generally 20%-60% below full-price retailers’ (including department, specialty, and major online retailers) regular prices, on comparable merchandise, every day,” the company states on its website describing the business. “HomeGoods is an off-price retailer. For us, value is a combination of brand, fashion, price, and quality. …”


J.C. Penney built the store, with its building plans submitted to the city of Baxter in late summer of 2007. Those plans called for a one-story, 83,000-square-foot building near the corner of Highway 371 and Glory Road by the Walmart Supercenter. At the time, there had been a long-standing rumor that J.C. Penney — then an anchor tenant at the East Brainerd Mall — would be moving to Baxter and the growing retail area by Walmart. J.C. Penney made the move to the new store in 2008. Its East Brainerd Mall site was later remodeled into office space for Ascensus.

In the spring of 2017, Baxter's J.C. Penney Co. was among 138 stores to be shuttered . It closed in July that year.

With the new permit activity, Parlay Baxter LLC, Chillicothe, Missouri, is listed as the applicant on a commercial building permit application before the city of Baxter. The architect on the project is listed as RSP Architects out of Minneapolis.

The remaining question on what will happen to the former J.C. Penney store is what business is going to be in the second and larger space.

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RENEE RICHARDSON, Brainerd Dispatch managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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