By Jason Schmucker
The development off of Cherry Street and Highway 5 – dubbed Waconia Crossings – took one step closer to becoming a reality on Wednesday, May 10, as officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking on the site.
Developed by Oppidan Investment Company, the plaza will house several businesses – including confirmed tenants Holiday, Culvers, Dollar Tree, Starbucks, AT&T and Sportsclips – when it is finished.
Oppidan officials said that Waconia’s strong population growth over the last decade bodes well for the future.
“I will tell you, I’ve been coming out here for 31 years,” said Paul Tucci, Oppidan’s vice president of development. “When we started, it was about 2,200 people. Now, I was just talking to the mayor, 12,000-plus and going strong. We are very excited to be here.”
Waconia Mayor Jim Sanborn said the groundbreaking offers a chance to reflect on the city’s growth.
“It takes an occasion like this to get some perspective on where the city has been and where it’s going,” Sanborn said. “If you look in that direction, you see Mackenthun’s – which is a family-operated business that is celebrating 100 years here in town. If you look in this direction, where the dirt is being moved around, you can kind of see the future of Waconia – we’re growing and attracting new businesses and getting people to come here. It’s really sort of humbling.”
Dean Meyer, who chairs the Waconia Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, said that the chamber is excited for the opportunity to serve as an advocate for the new businesses slated for the development.
“We’re pretty big advocates for our community, we think it’s a great place to be, and I think it’s a big testimony for us that you guys have chosen this area,” Meyer said.
Approved by the city council in November, construction on the site is expected to wrap up this fall.
Tucci said that the development would not have been possible without assistance from city staff.
“We would really like to thank all the people at the city, on staff, at the planning commission and on council,” Tucci said.
Sanborn echoed that sentiment.
“I’m proud of the partnership between all of the tenants, Oppidan, the city and the chamber to bring those businesses here to town,” Sanborn said.