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The Eden Prairie Planning Commission has approved a zoning change that would allow Eden Prairie Schools to convert an office building on the United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) property into a school.

The Eden Prairie City Council must still hold a public meeting and approve a development agreement before plans are final. That should happen in late May, said David Lindahl, Eden Prairie's economic development manager.

The school district signed a purchase agreement to buy the 165,000-square-foot building on a 61-acre parcel that comprises almost half of the United Natural Foods Inc. campus. The property has been split into two parcels, said Dirk Tedmon, Eden Prairie Schools' spokesperson.

Tedmon said the deal still has some contingencies and the district isn't yet sharing the purchase price.

The building on Valley View Road would house the TASSEL (Teaching All Students for Employment and Life) Transition program, which serves 18- to 22-year-old students who received special education services and helps them transition to college or a career. It will also allow the district to start an Alternative Learning Center (ALC) to serve special education students in grades six through 12. Students currently living in the district who want to attend an ALC now must enroll in another district's program, Tedmon said.

The current TASSEL Transition program is held at the Eden Prairie City Center, but the district can no longer lease that space. The district hopes to have everything wrapped up by summer so school can be held in the new facility in the fall, Tedmon said.

United Natural Foods no longer needs the office building since many employees work now from home, Lindahl said. The company is one of many that have sold property or converted unused office spaces to accommodate post-pandemic workplace changes.