Worthington Minnesota Shopping

Worthington director Jason Brisson, who has built the former Shopko building on the corner of Main Street and Main Avenue in Fergus Falls, is considering building his own retail space in the city centre. F Ferguson Falls is paving the way for the development of its first retail store in more than a decade with the opening of a new mall and restaurant on the ground floor of the old Shop Ko building on Main Street on Wednesday, May 10.

Given the once-Worthington Shopko's spot, Brisson said he was surprised it hadn't been bought or rented out yet. Retail has changed so much that it looks like a capacity problem in the city's sense, said Mitchell Berg, who oversees the city. Memorial is in Rochester, which also lost a shop but has no business development worker. But the loss of ShopKO means one less shopping spot in Mahnom and another reason to head to Detroit Lakes for shopping, he said.

The city of Minnesota hopes to find a new retailer or another to fill its former Shopko space. In the age of Amazon, the surrounding area, with its 7,000 inhabitants, is looking for a former large box store to fill. But there is no market for retail in a community that is small, where residents behave and there is a market for retail, he said.

Like many retailers, the discount chain has been operating under certain guidelines that the community needs to expand, he said. As for options, retail is the only viable option for the former Shopko space, and not just for retail stores. The sale to the school district would mean a loss of tax revenue, but save them money if it was reallocated as a hub for early childhood education, Schierer said, as would the city of Minneapolis.

If he could see something on the old Shopko site, Schierer said, he would want to identify it in the city's master plan. The city of Mahnomen has one of the highest traffic levels in the district of MahNomen, Berg estimates that about 5,500 people are on it. Something, he said, could boost development in the parking lot across the street and make downtown Fergus Falls, once the fourth block, more attractive to businesses. Berg said it was a place people look for when they come to the city, when they have such a prominent building right at a major highway junction.

According to Schierer, the master plan of the city still envisages that the Shopko property as part of the city centre will be adjacent to the Otterschwanz, which flows through the city centre.

He said the loss of the building means the city would receive about $1.5 million in annual property tax revenue, or $2 million a year, if it was converted into a mini-warehouse. It looks like more is being done with less space, as online shopping eats up the profits of brick-and-mortar stores. This has spread to the local economy, leaving consumers with fewer shopping opportunities, and city officials trying to figure out what to do with the open space.

This year, the Fergus Falls school district bought the former site of a retailer that was scheduled to close in 2018 for $1.5 million, or about $2 million in annual property tax revenue.

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