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MINNEAPOLIS-Downtown Minneapolis is getting its first major grocery stores—two Lunds supermarkets scheduled to open in 2006. Lund Food Holdings Inc., the privately held Edina, MN-based company that owns the local Lunds and Byerly’s chains, plans to build smaller versions of its upscale supermarkets for the Downtown market.

The stores, in renovated space, will tap the rapidly growing residential base in Downtown Minneapolis. The Downtown stores will be from 12,000 sf to 18,000 sf — less than half of Lunds’ average of 40,000 sf. The grocery aisles will be narrower, the carts slender and the checkout areas compact. And the stores will focus on fresh produce and dairy, ready-made meals and other grab-and-go options.

Lund Food Holding isn’t disclosing how much the expansion would cost. Both projects likely will be done with Exeter Realty Co., the St. Paul developer behind several projects in St. Paul’s Grand Avenue and Highland Park neighborhoods.

One store will be built at 313 Central Ave. SE, just north of the river at the site of the current Rick’s Market. Lund Food Holdings bought three Rick’s Minnesota stores in April for an undisclosed sum. The store will be part of the larger Eastgate mixed-use redevelopment project.

The second store will move into the first floor of 1201 Hennepin Ave., the former Billy Graham ministries building. Lund Food Holdings bought the building last month from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The building’s upper floors may be converted to office space or condos, the company says.

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