Building that housed Sam’s Club in St. Louis Park will be turned into office space

Repurposing big box stores

Repurposing big box stores

A shuttered Sam’s Club store in the west metro is now reopening as the headquarters of a large Minnesota technology company.

The Sam’s Club closed back in January of 2018 and sat vacant for years, according to a spokesperson with the city of St. Louis Park.

Loffler Companies purchased the 150,000 square foot building in 2021 to transform it into a modern office space.

“There was nothing in it at all. There were a few dead birds that had flown in the building,” said Jim Loffler, founder and CEO of Loffler Companies. “But we looked at it and said, ‘How great could this be?'”

Loffler Companies, which started in a one-room office in St. Louis Park back in 1986, has now grown to 14 locations in five states, providing technology services such as copiers, printers, phone systems and cybersecurity.

“When we saw this we just thought, this is going to be a great home for us to continue to grow this business,” Jim Loffler said. “It really took a lot of imagination but we saw what it could be.”

The site underwent a massive transformation both inside and out over the course of two years.

“We added a second story and an elevator,” explained Danielle Loffler, who is in corporate real estate. “We have offices, conference rooms, focus rooms and indoor pergolas. We also added large windows to bring in natural light.”

In addition to office and desk space for 350 workers, the renovation included adding luxury amenities, such as a coffee bar, indoor golf simulator and gym.

“It’s been a great opportunity to build a space that’s collaborative, exciting and kind of new age that has a lot of perks that the next generation’s looking for in a workplace,” said James Loffler, company president.

Loffler said the only recognizable elements of the old Sam’s Club are the 160 skylights in the ceiling and the flooring, which has been polished but still shows permanent tire marks in the area of the former store’s auto shop.

“There was a good chance this building was going to be torn down. By us being able to repurpose the space, it saved all of this material from going into a landfill, so the environmental story here is significant,” Danielle Loffler said.

The City of St. Louis Park provided 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS with a statement on the redevelopment that reads, in part:

“Loffler’s new headquarters fit perfectly with the city’s vision for this property, transforming a vacant big box store into a technology and employment hub. Loffler’s investment in the property and repurposed building represents more than $10.5 million in taxable market value. The city looks forward to Loffler’s future in the community and is excited to see continued growth and expansion. The city also looks forward to working cooperatively with company leadership on any future creative ideas for the site, including possibly housing.”

Loffler Companies also intends to lease an additional 15,000 square feet within the site and is currently looking for a renter.

The reopening of the vacant building comes at a time when other large retail locations across the metro are shuttering, including the Aldi in north Minneapolis and Walmart in Brooklyn Center, which is slated to close its doors this week

Of the 592 free-standing big box stores in the metro, 17 are currently empty, including former Target and Sears stores, according to the Minnesota Commercial Association of Real Estate Exchange. Eight of those locations are not being marketed because they are leased for Amazon Fresh but are not currently being used.

Meanwhile, other vacant big box stores in the metro have seen innovative rebirths.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was at the grand opening of the new Asia Mall in Eden Prairie back in November, which is housed in a former Gander Mountain store.

Vacant Menard’s and K-Mart stores in Apple Valley and Anoka have been transformed into locations for Eagle Brook Church.

And the old Herberger’s department store in Roseville will soon reopen as a Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Loffler said he is glad he took the risk on the empty Sam’s Club site.

“It comes to a time in a business that you have to take a step forward and kind of gulp a little bit because scary, but it’s always served me well to do that,” Jim Loffler said.