Office-equipment supplier Loffler Cos. will convert a former Sam's Club in St. Louis Park into a new headquarters and warehouse. Loffler's multimillion-dollar move from Bloomington was announced Wednesday and returns Loffler to the suburb where it started 35 years ago.
The seller of copiers, large printers and IT-management and mail-center services plans to relocate 400 employees to the new site from several buildings now spread across Bloomington.
Warehouse workers will move to the new site by the end of March. Office workers will move by year's end or early next year after renovations are complete, corporate real estate manager Danielle Loffler said by phone Thursday.
Minneapolis-based Crawford Merz LLC has been hired as general contractor. Gensler's Minneapolis office is the architect.
Loffler CEO and co-founder Jim Loffler said the move was necessary.
"We had simply outgrown our current warehouse needs," he said. "Because of the shortage of industrial space within the I-494 loop, we started taking a more open view of available options. When we saw the 13-acre former Sam's Club property, we realized we could bring all five of our Bloomington spaces into one. This allows our entire team to work better together."
The 150,000-square-foot Sam's Club store has been vacant since January 2018.
"We are super excited about it. This is ideal for what we wanted to see happen with this property," said Community Development Director Karen Barton in a phone interview.
When Walmart initially decided to sell the Sam's Club property, the city put a moratorium on a deal until it found the right buyer and the right future use, she said.
"Loffler's repositioning of the vacant Sam's Club site as their central office and warehouse location will revitalize an underutilized property in the city," Barton said. "This is a huge piece of property in a fully developed city."
It's also within walking distance of the future Louisiana Avenue Station for the Southwest light-rail line.
Some details remain to be worked out. Loffler is considering a 20,000-square-foot mezzanine addition for the existing building. And it expects to lease out anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 square feet of space to a business tenant, Danielle said, adding that such plans will be finalized in stages.
The city hopes Loffler will sell or lease part of the site's parking lot for development into multifamily housing, Barton said.
The site is connected to the future light-rail line by a walking tunnel, which would benefit commuting employees and any future residents on the large lot.
The city rezoned the property immediately south of the old store building for high density multifamily housing. So a project is likely at some point.
"We are excited to work with Loffler on developing creative housing solutions that will bring the area to even greater promise," said St. Louis Park Mayor Jake Spano in a statement.
Loffler officials said they will retain some office space in Bloomington at its Loffler Business Center, even after relocating the headquarters. The company's other locations in Bloomington are likely to be leased to other businesses. Loffler has about 16 other locations around the Midwest with about 100 employees combined.
The company returns to St. Louis Park during a building boom that has been going strong for a decade. More recently, the city enjoyed the rise of many multifamily apartments along Interstate 394 and Hwy. 100.
It has also welcomed the new Bridgewater Bank headquarters near Excelsior Boulevard and the new 10 West End office building built by Ryan Cos. near Hwy. 100 and I-394.
Dee DePass • 612-673-7725