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FedEx to build 54,000-square-foot sorting and distribution facility in Brainerd

New construction will occur in the Brainerd Industrial Park for the first time since the Great Recession. Brainerd city officials said Friday they expect work to begin next week on a new 54,000-square-foot FedEx Ground sorting and distribution fa...

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Brainerd city officials said Friday they expect work to begin next week on a new 54,000-square-foot FedEx Ground sorting and distribution facility in the park. The sale of 9 acres of land was finalized Thursday after the city council first learned of the company's interest last October. Illustration.

New construction will occur in the Brainerd Industrial Park for the first time since the Great Recession.

Brainerd city officials said Friday they expect work to begin next week on a new 54,000-square-foot FedEx Ground sorting and distribution facility in the park. The sale of 9 acres of land was finalized Thursday after the city council first learned of the company's interest last October.

"You talk about a big deal for Brainerd, this is huge," said Gary Scheeler, city council president. "There's a lot of things happening in our town right now and this just adds to it."

Scheeler said not only will the facility bring in more jobs to the community, he expects it to increase interest in and value of available property in the industrial park. The distribution center could also lead to the growth of other area businesses and attract tenants to the Brainerd Industrial Center, Scheeler said.

"This is big for anybody who wants to move in there to move product in and out," he said.

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The identity of the buyer was kept quiet until the sale was finalized. Nate Grotzke of Close-Converse, which represented the city in the sale, said the property was sold to Ruedebusch Development and Construction of Madison, Wis. Ruedebusch did not return a phone call Friday, although the Star Tribune reported last February the company builds facilities and leases them to FedEx.

A FedEx spokeswoman Friday declined to comment on the sale, noting the company prefers not to give "forward-looking statements" before quarterly earnings announcements. The company's next announcement is scheduled for June 17.

The $521,560 sale represents the first lots sold in the industrial park's 2007 expansion, located southeast of the intersection of County State Aid Highway 45 and County Road 117. In 2009, Brainerd received a "shovel-ready" certification for the available lots in the park from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. That designation, spearheaded by the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation, helped to attract the company to Brainerd, said Sheila Haverkamp, BLAEDC executive director.

Haverkamp said the first time she heard about interest in the site, consultants hired to select the site were already standing in the industrial park.

"Because of this 'shovel-ready' site certification and the amount of detail that was available online, the prospect could gather most of what they needed to know, and know enough about the property that they knew they wanted to look at it," Haverkamp said.

To get the designation, sites have completed planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, soils analysis and public infrastructure engineering, according to DEED.

"Brainerd has positioned themselves well to sell these remaining lots by having them 'shovel-ready,'" Grotzke said. "They're ready to go quickly for a developer. ... As we've all been working together to market them, it will be fun to see that building go up. We expect to see more (buildings) here in the near future."

Scheeler said he's hoping the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport will entice FedEx to build an air distribution facility in Brainerd as well.

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"We want to continue making this a regional center for moving product, especially in today's world where everything is being bought on the internet," Scheeler said.

Plans call for construction on the facility to be completed by the fall, Scheeler said. In April, the city council adopted a resolution to vacate a cul-de-sac in the industrial park to make way for the building, which will cover five lots.

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CORRECTION:
1:45 p.m. June 1 - This story has been updated to reflect the correct sale price of the land in the Brainerd Industrial Park.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Related Topics: BRAINERD
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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