Situated on the site of the old Brookdale Shopping Center sits the nearly-ready centerpiece of what is now called Shingle Creek Crossing.
"It's a state of the art store," said Wal-Mart store manager David Heber. "I mean it's one of the newest Wal–Marts in the country."
A new Wal–Mart that will employ 350 people once it's up and running. Wal–Mart has hired about 280 people so far, but they hope to hire about 60 more employees before the grand opening.
"About 90 percent of the staff that we brought in are from these parts," Heber said, referring to Brooklyn Center and the surrounding area.
People such as Brandon Hollman, a graduate of Brooklyn Center High School, and Ericka Craig, a north Minneapolis resident who used to frequent Brookdale as a teenager and young adult.
Both of these new Wal–Mart employees are familiar with Brooklyn Center's retail struggles.
"Especially being stuck between Maple Grove and Roseville, where they have shopping centers and restaurants out of this world, and Brooklyn Center is kind of stuck in the middle with not that much to draw people in," Hollman said.
"And when Brookdale went away, it left a hole in this area," Craig said.
Now, people hope to fill that hole with the $100 million redevelopment project of the shuttered shopping mall. Optimism certainly runs high that the store will spur economic development.
"I thought, well this is excellent, this is a great economy booster," Craig said. "It's great for people like me or others that are looking for jobs."
"And I think Wal–Mart will definitely add to that and bring back some business to this great city," Hollman said.
The new era to see whether that happens begins in two weeks.
"We're gonna be good neighbors," added store manager Heber. "And we're not just here to run business, we're here to help rebuild Brookdale."
Brooklyn Center officials said at the grand opening celebration, they will reveal signs that show who some of Wal–Mart's future retail neighbors.
Aug. 31, 2012