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DL Menards on course to open in spring 2007

Anyone driving west of Detroit Lakes can clearly see the Menards building is going up.

After more than a year of speculation and wondering, the construction process has begun.

In January 2005, Menards and Home Depot held a bidding war on the land near Wal-Mart. What began at $750,000 finished at $1.3 million, with Menards coming out on top.

Finally this spring, steel beams and concrete walls are going up.

"There's going to be a big box out there," said David Kray, project manager with Kraus-Anderson, the Pines Circle, Minn., construction company that is building the home improvement store.

When asked what stage the building is at, Marv Prochaska, vice president of real estate for Menards said, "You'd know better than me, being there. I haven't been there in months. It's like gee whiz, it's under construction."

Kray said the building is erected, the steel is up and the pre-cast wall panels are half up, which is what people can see from the highway.

The portion people can see is the heated portion of the store. Kray said next week construction crews will be installing the steel for the overhangs on the building, which will house the garden center and shipping area.

Soon, crews will also start a separate warehouse structure.

Kray said Kraus-Anderson has built 30 Menards stores in the past 12 years.

The construction of the Detroit Lakes store is scheduled to be completed Sept. 1.

Prochaska said Menards had hoped for an earlier opening date, which is now scheduled for early spring 2007, but the city didn't approved some items in time. A Menards representative appeared before the planning commission last month to get a final variance.

Prochaska said the process has gone "fairly smoothly" compared to openings in other cities.

When finished, the building and warehouse will be 240,000 square feet, plus a 3.5 to 4-acre lumberyard. Prochaska said West Fargo's Menards is undergoing some reconstruction, but when finished, the two stores will be similar in size.

Menards has 208 stores in the Midwest, with the closest being West Fargo, Alexandria and Baxter.

Kray said the Detroit Lakes project is on schedule.

"The rain slows it, but they (construction crews) always get back on schedule," he said.