WILLMAR – It looks like the rumors are true. National retailer Kohl’s is coming to Willmar’s Kandi Mall.
Mayor Marv Calvin made the announcement at the end of Tuesday’s city council meeting.
“Kohl’s has pulled a building permit from the city of Willmar,” Calvin said.
City Planner Sarah Swedburg said the building permit was taken out by Kohl’s last week and is for work to split the former Kmart location in the Kandi Mall into two different retail spaces, with Kohl’s planning to fill a portion of one side. The Kmart portion of Kandi Mall has been vacant since 2012 when Kmart closed its Willmar location.
More permits will be needed for any significant interior and exterior work on the project.
“It is very preliminary,” Swedburg said, adding there is no word yet on when store construction will begin or when the store will open. The initial permit work has started, Swedburg said.
While RockStep Capital, the owner of the Kandi Mall, has yet to announce the coming of Kohl’s publicly, Swedburg said once a building permit is issued by the city the permit applicant is public knowledge.
Kohl’s is an American department store chain headquartered in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. The publicly-traded company operates more than 1,100 stores. The company is listed on both the S&P 500 and the Fortune 500.
The story of Kohl’s began in 1927 when a Polish immigrant Maxwell Kohl opened a grocery store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company opened its first department store in 1962 in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
The Kandi Mall, opened in 1973, was purchased in by RockStep Capital in 2015. In September 2016, the city of Willmar, Kandiyohi County and Willmar School District approved a 10-year tax abatement for Kandi Mall to help fund a $6.5 million project at the mall.
RockStep Capital owns 19 retail properties across the country, but Kandi Mall is the only one that has lost two anchor stores. The mall was purchased from J. Herzog & Sons, Inc., of Denver, which had owned the mall for over 10 years.
This latest news is definitely welcome at the mall, which has seen some additional closings over the past year, including Herberger’s, Sears Hometown, Book World and Coat and Tie.
“In light of the bad things that we have been hearing at the mall, I am very excited for the things that will be happening at the mall in the next six to eight months,” Calvin said. “Some very exciting things are going to be happening. This is very good news.”
West Central Tribune by Shelby Lindrud