Linn Companies is redeveloping former Hostess store


What was once a vacant building at the corner of County Road B and White Bear Avenue will soon become the new home of Baby Zone Child Care Center. Linn Companies is remodeling the former bread store, and Baby Zone’s current building at Highway 36 and English Street will be razed and replaced with a Holiday gas station. (Photo by Tim Faklis/Review)

Daycare to occupy ‘prime location’

The abandoned Hostess bread store on White Bear Avenue, which hasn’t seen any action in at least two years, is finally the focus of a redevelopment project.

The building just north of the Maplewood Community Center at the corner of County Road B and White Bear Avenue was purchased by St. Paul-based The Linn Companies.

Linn acquired the former store in late June, and plans to make it a two-tenant building.

The main occupant will be Baby Zone Child Care Center, which will move out of its current building at Highway 36 and English Street in Maplewood.

The bread store building will have additional space for another commercial tenant, according to Maplewood city planner Michael Martin.

Eventually, the daycare’s existing building along Highway 36 will be torn down and replaced with a Holiday gas station.

The staff and clients at the Baby Zone, which has been in business about 14 years, are excited about the move. The company’s CEO, Mary Jo Cocchiarella, said The Linn Companies offered her the opportunity to relocate, and she took it.

“They approached me. I had 2 1/2 years (left on) my lease; they offered to pay off the rest of my lease. It’s been really exciting,” Cocchiarella said. “Everybody is really excited. I haven’t lost one customer in the process.”

Part of that is because of the new site’s close proximity to the city-owned community center. Cocchiarella said the daycare would be partnering with the community center to offer unique programming. She added that the new location has more of a neighborhood feel, which is another plus.

It’s a great corner, great visibility, good access,” said Steve Linn, CEO of the Linn Companies. “It’s next door to the Maplewood Community Center, and has a lot going for it.

“I’m surprised that someone hadn’t purchased it and either redeveloped or renovated it prior to this. It’s going to be a beautiful building when it’s done,” Linn said.

The building is getting quite a makeover -- a new roof, parking lot, exterior facade and windows. All construction is expected to be completed by the end of August.

As for leasing the rest of the space, Linn said there have been negotiations, but nothing has been made official yet.

“We’ve talked to quite a few different companies and businesses, but nothing is final yet,” he said. “There’s still a lot to be worked out there.”

The Linn Companies is mostly known for buying sites and redeveloping them into gas stations, auto repair shops and laundromats. This project, while not completely out of its realm of expertise, is a bit different from its usual business ventures.

“I know what Steve Linn usually does with his properties, but this isn’t part of his typical profile,” Martin said. “This is a general retail, commercial site that he wants to rehab.”

The Linn Company owns several businesses in the east metro, including a Holiday Gas station in Oakdale and a NAPA Autoparts in Woodbury.

You can reach Tim Faklis at 651-748-7814, at tfaklis@lillienews.com, or on Twitter @tfaklisnews.

 

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