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UnitedHealth Group plans campus expansion

Burl Gilyard
Dolan Media Newswires

Minneapolis — At a time when much development has stalled, Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. is inching closer to a major expansion of its corporate campus.

For now, the Fortune 500 health insurance giant is saying little, but a spokesman confirmed that the company plans to pitch its concept to the city of Minnetonka this year.

“UnitedHealth Group is considering building a new office building adjacent to its headquarters in Minnetonka … The project is currently in the planning and design stage. UnitedHealth Group expects to present a preliminary plan to the city of Minnetonka later this year,” according to an e-mail attributed to company spokesman Will Holman. He declined to be more specific.

In June 2008, UnitedHealth Group completed a 10-story, 350,000-square-foot office building on its campus.

That building was Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified and houses about 1,750 employees. That project was designed and built by Opus Northwest of Minnetonka.

Julie Wischnack, community development director for the city of Minnetonka, said it’s her understanding UnitedHealth Group will propose a building of roughly the same size as the project completed last year.

“It would look very, very similar to what you see there today,” Wischnack said in reference to the tower completed in 2008.

Wischnack said the city has not received any proposal from UnitedHealth Group.

She said the Minnetonka City Council agreed in principle to the expansion when the two-phase plans were presented in 2006. But the timing of the second phase was unknown.

“They were conceptually OK with two buildings being here … but there were some caveats,” Wischnack said.

One key unresolved issue related to the potential project is the Bren Road/Highway 169 Interchange project, a planned $20 million upgrade that does not have financing in place.

“We’re trying to figure out the funding for that and how that would all come together,” Wischnack said.

She said the interchange upgrade needs to be done in concert with the UnitedHealth Group expansion.

“They can’t go forward if the (interchange) improvement is not made,” Wischnack said.

Based on revenue, UnitedHealth Group is the largest publicly traded company in Minnesota, substantially larger than Minneapolis-based retailer Target Corp.

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