Johnson Brothers Liquor Company pulls the plug on planned facility in Eagan

Johnson Brothers Liquor Company pulls the plug on planned facility in Eagan

Johnson Brothers Liquor Company pulls the plug on planned facility in Eagan

One of the largest wine distributors in the country is no longer choosing Eagan to build a facility.

Johnson Brothers Liquor Company planned to redevelop the former Blue Cross Blue Shield campus, but they withdrew their application to make it happen.

In recent months, this plan received a lot of pushback from neighbors who did not want the manufacturing plant there to begin with.

RELATED: Eagan neighbors push back on Blue Cross Blue Shield redevelopment plan

Kevin Crary, an Eagan resident, chose his house for a reason. He explained he was sold on the quiet corner of the city with a scenic view of the Twin Cities.

“It’s really peaceful,” Crary said. “We have big windows and having trucks going by there all the time wouldn’t have been great for that.”

Neighbors believed those trucks would have come from a distribution facility once planned for the property across the street, but those plans fell through.

“It’s a good feeling,” Crary said. “When we were sitting in that city council meeting for hours and hours and everybody was going up and talking about their concerns, it seems like it worked.”

In December, the Eagan City Council approved a land use proposal so Johnson Brothers Liquor Company could redevelop the former Blue Cross Blue Shield campus.

Dozens of neighbors protested, citing too much traffic, noise and air pollution and declining property values.

But Johnson Brothers have since pulled the plug, saying in a statement, “We determined the site is not the best fit to meet the anticipated future needs of our company. We will continue to explore other options around the metro, including the possibility of remaining in St. Paul.”

“The winds of change can indeed shift,” Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire said in the State of the City address.

Maguire addressed the recent decision, pointing to the economic activity the company would have brought.

“So once again, the future of that campus and the Delta Dental site are uncertain,” Maguire said.

While some neighbors remain certain, the company calling it quits was a good move for their neighborhood.

“I’m super happy,” Crary said. “The only concern was if they’re not coming, what’s the alternative?”

Maguire said in a statement they’ll remain patient and learn more as proposals come in to acquire the site.         

“We know the path for redevelopment on large-scale properties is rarely a straight one. Our experience with developing properties of this scale in Eagan has taught us that some proposals come to fruition, while others will not. Just as we have in the past with the successful development of properties such as Viking Lakes, Central Park Commons, and the Twin Cities Premium Outlet Mall, we will be patient, stay engaged and learn more as proposals come in. This approach has guided us to decisions that strengthen our community’s long-term prosperity. As we move forward, we will continue to balance our fiduciary responsibilities, along with the needs of the sellers, the market, and our community.”

Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire