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RICHFIELD, MN-Best Buy Co., the consumer electronics retailer, has begun building its $160-million corporate campus near Penn Avenue and Interstate 494. The 1.5-million-sf campus is planned to house up to 7,500 employees and is expected to be ready for occupancy in late 2002.

Four buildings will include a commons area containing the Best Buy University, wellness center, transit stop, parking facilities, childcare center and employee cafeteria. A one-mile walking/biking path, ponds and natural landscaping will surround the 42.5-acre campus.

Best Buy says its developer, Opus Northwest (a regional subsidiary of Opus Corp. basedin Minnetonka, MN), will start tearing down buildings on the site in spite of a slew of lawsuits challenging the project. Some neighborhood residents and others object to the potential for more traffic and pollution, while the owner of the Walser car dealership objects to being forced from a prime location.

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