Hermantown Fleet Farm property sold to North Dakota investors

The Fleet Farm property in Hermantown has been sold to a North Dakota investment firm for $30 million. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

The Fleet Farm big-box retail store property in Hermantown has been sold to a real estate investment firm based in Fargo, North Dakota for $30 million.

According to St. Louis County property records, Edgewood Real Estate Investment Trust finalized the purchase of the land and structures at 4165 Loberg Ave. in December. The property, store, gas station and an adjacent 3.5-acre vacant lot had a combined estimated market value of close to $15 million, according to 2023 tax records.

The family-owned, Brainerd-based Mills Fleet Farm purchased the 34-acre property near Mall Drive and Loberg Road in 2015 and announced plans to build a 183,000-square-foot store on the site. During construction, the Mills family sold the company and its 35 stores to the global investment firm KKR. The Hermantown Mills Fleet Farm opened in 2016; KKR dropped the “Mills” part of the trade name in 2018 though it still appears on the Hermantown storefront sign.

Fleet Farm officials said the sale will not effect store operations.

“From a consumer’s standpoint, all operations will continue as they were,” said Fleet Farm Executive Vice President Frank Steeves. “The only difference is that now instead of owning the store, we will operate on a long-term lease.”

Steeves said it is common for retailers to sell and lease back stores as a way to generate capital for other projects.

Edgewood Real Estate Investment Trust currently owns two other Mills Fleet Farm properties. It acquired store buildings in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Blaine, Minnesota in 2021.

Operating under KKR, Fleet Farm has expanded to 49 stores in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. In 2023, it opened a new store in Muskego, Wisconsin.

The company owns dozens of commercial properties, health care facilities and apartment buildings all over the country, including Edgewood Vista senior living facilities in Hermantown and Virginia. In 2022, it reported total assets worth $1.6 billion.

Edgewood is made up largely of North Dakota investors including David Nething, a longtime Jamestown legislator who served in the State Senate from 1967 to 2012. The chairman of the board is Dan Mikkelson, a Grand Forks developer.

The city of Hermantown recently completed $2.1 million of road improvements to Lindgren Road and Richard Avenue between Loberg and Haines roads south of the Fleet Farm complex.

Edgewood Real Estate Investment Trust did not respond to a request for comment.

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