City Market open pending judge's order; Trader Joe's rumored for space

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April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The fate of City Market, a Downtown grocery store at 1240 Hennepin Ave. S., is now in the hands of a Hennepin County District Court judge. The market will stay open at least until a judge issues her order, within 90 days.

The grocery store and its landlord Laurel Village, locked in a battle over lease renewal terms, squared off in court March 15-17. At issue is whether City Market gave proper notice when it attempted to renew its lease last fall.

Laurel Village also made the case that City Market wasn't eligible to renew its lease because the grocer's sales had dipped below a certain level outlined in the lease. The provision is intended to ensure Laurel Village has a viable tenant in the space.

Judge E. Anne McKinsey is expected to determine whether City Market can stay at its Hennepin Avenue location when she issues her ruling in coming weeks. She has 90 days to file the order after she considers closing arguments filed by lawyers representing City Market and Laurel Village.

Until McKinsey issues the order, City Market can stay in its space.

"We're still in a holding pattern," said Brad Hansen, who co-owns City Market with his brother Brian Hansen.

The grocery store has been a family business in the neighborhood for more than 50 years, starting as a shop at 13th and Hennepin, now home to Espresso Royale Caff/.

There has been talk about Laurel Village pushing for a new, more up-scale grocery store. Hansen said he heard California-based Trader Joe's, a specialty grocery store that sells private-label goods, mentioned as a possible tenant.

Michael Pagh, president of Golden Valley-based Great Lakes Management, which manages Laurel Village, would not comment on plans for other grocery stores in the apartment complex.