TJ Maxx coming to Willmar's First Street South business corridor

·2 min read

Jul. 8—WILLMAR

— A new national soft goods retail store will be occupying the old OfficeMax building in Willmar, which has been vacant for more than a year.

TJ Maxx will be moving into the building, located at 1901 South First Street, after the Willmar planning commission Wednesday reviewed and approved the plan review for the new use for the building. A timeline of when the store would open was not provided.

"We're excited," said retail landlord Tim Bloom at a Willmar planning commission meeting June 15, before the name of the new occupant was disclosed. "The tenant that we found is a very interesting tenant, because they are going to bring a lot of good shopping and some good employment to the building that has been vacant for quite some time."

Noting that the "retail tenant" is a national chain that is more of a "destination retail" store, Bloom explained the tenant will bring traffic from the surrounding communities into Willmar, along with Willmar residents.

"It's a very unique shopping experience, it's almost like a treasure hunt when you walk into one of their concepts looking for values and good things to buy," Bloom added. "That particular use fits that building very, very well."

The building, which is owned by the Lundquist family, was built in 1998 and is just shy of 24,000 square feet.

Bloom's partner and brother, Josh Bloom, noted that the Lundquists no longer want to "shell out expenses" for a vacant building, and that the building is still in "great shape."

TJ Maxx is expected to employ 10 to 12 people, Josh Bloom added, noting the national retailer has been looking at options in Hutchinson and Marshall, as well, but the goal was to bring it to Willmar to keep Willmar residents shopping in Willmar.

The reason the plan for the new use had to be addressed by the Planning Commission was because of a variance granted for OfficeMax when the building was constructed in 1998 that allowed for less parking than required by city ordinance, according to Willmar City Planner Kayode Adiatu.

The variance specifically stated that if the building was ever to be used for something other than an office supply retail store, it would have to go through the Planning Commission for plan review and approval, Adiatu informed the commission, noting city planning and development staff see no issues in granting the same variance to TJ Maxx.

If the variance were not granted, the required number of parking spots for the retailer would be 144, which is double the current 72 parking spots, according to Planning and Development Director Justice Walker. He noted this is something the Planning Commission would have on its agenda in future meetings, since the number of parking spaces required by city code seems excessive.