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by Jessica HarperThisweek NewspapersA Minneapolis-based developer is hoping to turn a huge chunk of the Lockheed Martin building in Eagan into retail space.“Given its proximately to Town Centre and Promenade (two major retail centers), we believe it is a strong, viable trade area site that  lends itself to retail uses,” said Tom Palmquist, vice president of commercial development for CSM Corp.The city’s comprehensive guide currently designates the property as major office.“(But) filling a 623,000 square-foot office building that was built 40 years ago for a specific use could be very difficult,” said City Administrator Tom Hedges.Subdividing the site could also be challenging, he said.CSM Equities LLC, an affiliate of CSM Corp., is asking city officials to amend their comprehensive guide plan to redesignate 41.2 acres of the 51-acre site as retail commercial.The plans also call for several freestanding restaurants and would keep the remaining 6.2 acres as office space.“We are looking at a variety of alternatives and are trying to put together the best mix,” Palmquist said.The site is at a prime location — the intersection of Pilot Knob and Yankee Doodle roads, Eagan’s busiest intersection — and is near its major retail centers, Promenade and Town Centre.Before making any final decisions, though, city officials would want to ensure another retail complex would compliment others in the area, Palmquist said.The project — which CSM calls Central Park Commons — would do just that, he said.“Our hope is to bring retailers to the Eagan trade area that are new to the market and who offer something that the current retailers don’t,” he said, adding that CSM has been talking with several interested businesses.The developer purchased the property in April and closed on the sale in June, but Lockheed Martin will continue to occupy the space under a lease agreement until it officially closes its Eagan operation in the spring of 2013.The company announced last November it would close its Eagan facility by 2013, resulting in about 350 layoffs and 650 job transfers to other Lockheed Martin facilities.CSM’s redevelopment plans are still in their infancy.Its proposal is expected to go before the Planning Commission in September. If it passes there, the proposal will move on to the City Council on Oct. 4. If it approves the comprehensive plan amendment, the council would also need Metropolitan Council approval.The property is presently zoned as research and development, so that, too, would need to be changed before a development could move forward, Hedges said.E-mail Jessica Harper at:

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