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New retail center near Miller Hill Mall in Duluth is sold

Panera Bread is a big draw at the Hansen Center, which opened earlier this year at Miller Trunk Highway and Maple Grove Road in Duluth. The new three-building retail complex was sold by the developer this month to an Orlando, Fla.-based company. (Steve Kuchera /

Duluth’s bustling new retail center next to Miller Hill Mall anchored by Panera Bread and a Verizon Wireless smart store has been open only a few months.

And it’s already been sold.

A limited liability corporation with the curious name of Duluth Retail 4 Guys purchased the upscale three-building Hansen Center this month from the previous owner who built the complex at Miller Trunk Highway and Maple Grove Road last year.

The sale price for the mini-mall was $5.9 million, St. Louis County property records show.

Both buyer and seller are in Florida.

The buyer, Duluth Retail 4 Guys LLC, can be traced to Unicorp National Development Inc., based in Orlando, Fla.  The development and management company specializes in upscale mixed use and retail properties, according to its website showing many projects in the south but just a few in the Midwest.

Its owner did not respond to a News Tribune request for an interview last week.

But according to Beth Wentzlaff, president of Consulting, Management & Reality Association, who represented the project’s developer — Florida-based General Realty — in the building process, the intent all along was to sell the retail complex once it was built and up and running.

“Whenever development comes in, especially one of that size, they already have people in mind to come in and buy it.” she said.

The leases of the four stores  — Panera Bread, Verizon Wireless, Sleep Number and the Vitamin Shoppe — appear safe with the change in ownership.

“Nothing should change,” said Karen Smith a spokeswoman for Verizon Wireless. “When we sign a lease, the lease is good.  Landlords can change from time to time, but our lease would remain in effect. So it would not impact our store.”

While the sale price of nearly $6 million for the 1.6-acre site and about 14,200-square feet of retail space is sizable, Wentzlaff said the developer “spent a fortune” to make the project happen.